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By Rabbi Dovid Siegel | Series: | Level:

M’lochim I:1

This week’s haftorah teaches us an important lesson regarding divine providence. Dovid Hamelech had suddenly aged and basically withdrew from the affairs of his kingdom. This development created a significant void in the parliament and opened the door to minority groups and conspiracy. One of the king’s own sons Adoniyahu seized the moment and began grooming himself for the throne. This was in direct opposition to the king who repeatedly stated that his son Shlomo would be his successor. In fact, Dovid Hamelech had actually received prophecy regarding this matter which specifically stated that Shlomo would be his successor. Dovid even swore to Shlomo’s mother, BasSheva, that her son would be the next king. Now, in Dovid’s aged state this matter took a mean turn and Adoniyahu was secretly and rapidly developing a strong following. The king’s closest advisors discovered the plot and, corroborating with Shlomo’s mother appealed to the king to put down the uprising. Dovid Hamelech acquiesced and upon discovering the grave situation ordered the immediate coronation of Shlomo. These threatening developments created a most unique experience and Shlomo was actually anointed king even during his father, Dovid Hamelech’s lifetime.

Our Chazal (Breishis Rabba 76:2) reflect upon this situation and raise a very perplexing problem. The Scriptures reveal to us that Dovid Hamelech’s immediate order to anoint his son Shlomo was met with great trepidation. B’nayahu, the presiding member of Sanhedrin responded and said, “Let it be Hashem’s will that our mission is successful.” (M’lochim 1:36) “Why,” ask Chazal “was so much concern and doubtfulness present? Didn’t Hashem promise from the outset that Shlomo would succeed his father? Now, that this prophecy was in its final stages of fulfillment what could possibly affect things?” Chazal answer that many obstructions and impediments could truly occur prior to the actual fulfillment of the prophet’s words.

This insight reveals to us a significant perspective regarding divine providence. Although it was pre-ordained for Shlomo to succeed his father and a vision of prophecy assured this fact, the subject was far from being closed. Every effort had to be exerted to secure the efficient realization of this prophecy. There was no guarantee regarding the number of attempts that would be necessary before Shlomo would successfully rule over the Jewish nation. Prophecy does not preclude attempts of conspiracy and it was expected of Dovid Hamelech to thwart all such efforts. True, it was meant for Shlomo to rule but difficulty and interference could certainly present itself. Now even its final stages, moments before completion who knows what obstacles would present themselves!? B’nayahu the head of Sanhedrin was fully aware of these possibilities and therefore expressed his sincere plea to Hashem that all of their efforts be met with success.

This same lesson appears throughout this week’s sedra, Chayei Sora. At the end of Parshas Vayeira we learn (see Rashi 22:20) of Avrohom Aveinu’s divine revelation that Yitzchok’s partner in life had just been born. Avrohom waited until the appropriate time of maturity and then proceeded immediately to secure this marriage. He called upon Eliezer, his devoted student and most trustworthy servant, to fulfill this important mission. He obligated Eliezer through an oath to carefully adhere to his master’s command. Avrohom insisted that Eliezer go directly to Avrohom’s family in pursuit of a proper match for Yitzchok. Avrohom warned Eliezer that under no conditions would Yitzchok be permitted to marry a Canaanite lady or leave the land of Israel. Although Avrohom already knew that Rivka was pre-ordained to marry Yitzchok he nevertheless went to great lengths to secure that this would truly happen. Our Chazal (see Rashi 24:55) reveal to us that in fact Eliezer had an eligible daughter and he had truly considered circumventing Avrohom’s command for his daughter’s sake. Realizing this possibility, Avrohom did everything in his power to guarantee that Rivka would be Yitzchok’s partner in life. True, that in Heaven it was decreed that Rivka should marry Yitzchok however, matters were far from secure that they would materialize. Who knows what could stand in the way and interfere with Hashem’s proposal?! Therefore Avrohom insisted that even his most trustworthy servant, Eliezer take a heavy oath to guarantee that this mission would be faithfully completed.

This lesson repeats itself when Eliezer encountered Yitzchok’s future father in law. In response to an amazing display of clear evidence that this match was heavenly ordained, Besual, Rivka’s father properly responded, “If Hashem willed it so there could certainly be no interference!” The path seemed to be clear, yet, Rashi reveals (see 24:55) that Besual subsequently attempted to poison Eliezer and put a stop to the marriage. His attempt failed only after Hashem sent an angel who exchanged cups and Besual became the victim himself. Even after the clearest revelation from Hashem, there was still room for interception and it was therefore necessary to remove Besual from the picture. Once again, we see that Heavenly ordained plans do not go on automatic pilot. There is still room for intervention and the final outcome is far from being realized. We must always do our part to secure the proper outcome and then, with the help of Hashem, the process will be completed.

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