Shabbat Prayers: Imrei Emet: Shield of David
In the Blessings after the reading of the Haftarah we say, “The Shield of David.” They midrash (Genesis Rabbah 44:14) Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai says, “The Holy One, Blessed is He, showed all the offerings to Abraham our father at the Covenant Between the Pieces, except for the Tenth of the Eiphah, which He did not show him.” This is describing Abraham as one who could raise all the souls of Israel. Such was the intention of all the offerings; to raise the soul of the one bringing the offering.
The Tenth of an Eiphah of flour is for the poorest of the poor. The Talmud (Menachot 104a) teaches that, “A poor person who offers the Tenth of Eiphah; I will consider it as if he offered his very soul.”
This is the level of King David, who raised all the souls of Israel, even the lowest, the ones Abraham was unable to lift. It is to this we refer when we say, “The Shield of David,” who refers to himself as a poor person, as is written (Psalms 86:1), “For poor and destitute am I.” Was King David poor? (See JT Bava Metziah 1:4)This verse teaches us that all the souls of Israel are connected to David’s, even the lowest of souls, as is taught in the verse (Psalms 102:1), “A prayer of the afflicted man when he swoons, and pours forth his supplications before God.” (Imrei Emet)