Haftarah Zachor: Background IV
Purim is the holiday of the oral law. The oral law means we do only what’s told or do we also use judgment and creativity? Judgment and creativity. So we understand that if you’re dealing here with oral law issues then there’s judgment and creativity. So you understand this is not just a basic story.
Some historical background is as follows, Shmuel, the prophet Samuel and Shaul are intertwined. There two pats of one person. Because when Channah the mother of Samuel prayed for a son she was given a son, and remember he was a result of prayer which is also important to keep in mind. She said, what happened, I asked of him from God. what is the Hebrew word for ask, Shaul or shaal. So what should have Shmuel’s name been? Shaul, but he’s not Shaul for some reason he is Shmuel. So Shaul is a different manifestation of Shmuel.
He is part of one thing, the two are intertwined. And the reason kabbalistically is that Shmuel comes from the Tribe of Levi. The Tribe of Levi represents din. It represents judgment and harshness, things have to be a certain way. That’s why when Moshe needs to turn to a tribe who’s going to be able to destroy the Jews who were involved in the sin of the gold calf, he turns to levi. Because they understand. Even if it was their own brother or their own father, that man who was involved in the worshipping of the golden calf they would kill them because this is what needs to be done.
Shaul, Binyamin comes from whatever reason from chessed, from kindness. So there is an empowerment when Shmuel anoints Shaul, there is now a mixing of din and chessed and it is symbolized when Shmuel takes oil and pours it on the head of Shaul to anoint him as king. Oil always represents wisdom, even in the secular world. Because it’s the light, thinking and bring light to the world. Ford has a better idea and in the 60’s the light bulb would go on in the commercials, things like that. Sow hat you have are myriads of issues between Shmuel and Shaul and the fact that he anointed him as king. One last historical piece of information, is that Shaul never sinned before he became king. He was as pure as a baby the verse says. If you had taken a one year old baby and you compare all the evil he had done (which is nothing) and compare it to Shaul there would be no difference the verse says that. Not only that he was so humble, and private, he was exquisitely good. For example when he first meets Shmuel he is going to look for some oxen. Until that point no one was called a navi because prophecy had been withheld from the Jewish people. They were called roee– seers. When Shaul Saul goes to Shmuel to ay he is missing his oxen, all of a sudden you find the word navi appearing again. So much so that you find in the story of Shaul many time that people say oh Shaul drops into a pile of prophets and he become a prophet himself. It happens numerous times. So Samuel tells him listen, you’re the next king, he says okay okay that’s fine. And when he returns home to his uncle he asks did you see the prophet and he says yes. And when he asks what he said, he responds well that he found the lost donkey, and said oh did he say anything else? What would you say oh that he said id be the next king right? Shaul said no he didn’t say anything important. The Shmuel gather all the people and says : ladies and gentlemen you have asked me for a new king, gather together let me introduce you to the new king, drum rolls and trumpets, the curtain opens up and he’s hiding. They have to go out and look for him and they find him hiding behind some ??? he doesn’t like the public eye. People say that is our king? He’s tall but that makes him king? Shaul goes to fight this massive battle now they say yea thats our king. The people who were followers of Shaul from the beginning said they should wipe out these people who didn’t follow you at first. But Saul says no, its okay its not important. So you have a picture of what kind of man he is.
Next point is that Samuel summons Saul the king and says listen I want you to battle the philistines but don’t go into the battle before offering a sacrifice. Make sense? Yes. And don’t give the sacrifice until I am there, don’t do it. Okay, all right, you don’t have to pressure me.
So the Philistines are approaching and the Jews turn to Saul and say you better offer a sacrifice we’re about to go into battle. Well, I can’t really yet I have to wait for the navi. So fine, the people start disappearing and finally he realizes the philistines are a few feet away , yard, a football field away, Shmuel is not there yet, the people are deserting him, he’s not going to have any soldiers to fight. So he’s desperate what should he do what should he do?
So he gives the sacrifice because he wants God’s help in the battle. He turns around after giving the sacrifice, there’s someone tapping his shoulder and its Samuel. He says Hi Shaul !didn’t I tell you to wait? Yes but, what could I do the people are running away. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t handle the situation.