SAMUEL THE PROPHET
Only minutes north of Jerusalem, the tomb of Samuel the Prophet stands on a hill overlooking the Holy City. This place is vital to us; I do not see any reason why it should not be filled with worshipers at all hours. Samuel was the greatest prophet after Moses (Radak). As the verse says, “Moses and Aharon were among His priests and Samuel among those who invoke His Name” (Psalm 99). Moses’s grave is at an unknown location outside Israel; Samuel the Prophet’s is easily accessible.
We need a new Prophet Samuel today, to pour the anointing oil on the son of David. We have to beg G-d for this because there is no other road to salvation and redemption.
“G-d said to Samuel … ‘Malai karncha shemen … Fill your horn with oil and go forth. I shall send you to Yishai Bais Halachmi, for I have seen a king for Myself among his sons…. David was ruddy, with fair eyes and a pleasing appearance. G-d then said, ‘Arise and anoint him, for this is he!’ Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and the spirit of G-d passed over David from that day on” (Samuel I 16:1ff).
Shortly after David’s anointment, we read the following: “The Philistines assembled their camps for war …. A champion went forth from the Philistine camps whose name was Goliath …. He called to the battalions of Israel and said to them … ‘I have disgraced the battalions of Israel this day.’ Saul (the king) and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine and they were terrified and greatly afraid” (ibid 17:1ff).
Now let us turn to this week’s Torah portion, which opens with the following words, “Moses assembled the entire assembly of the Children of Israel…” (Exodus 35:1). What a contrast between this “assembly” of Moses and the “assembly” of Saul the king! One assembly is about to construct the Tabernacle; the other assembly trembles in terror before Goliath.
Our generation can be compared to the assembly of King Saul, trembling before those who are disgracing the battalions of Israel. The nations of the world attack us with impunity and mock our powerlessness. This is a monumental desecration of G-d’s name!
Hear the words of David to Goliath: “You come to me with a sword, a spear and a javelin, but I come to you with the Name of G-d, Master of Legions, the G-d of the battalions of Israel that you have ridiculed” (ibid 17:45). David was not afraid to speak in the Name of G-d!
Who *speaks like this today for Israel? Who speaks in the Name of G-d? No one! No voice speaks up for the G-d of Israel! No voice answers the deep disgrace of our people! We cower like terrified sheep because we have forgotten our Master!
What’s wrong with us? Why don’t we return to our senses? Why do we bicker and argue? Why do we go after vanities when the Master of Legions is waiting to lead us? “If only My people would heed Me, if only Israel would walk in My ways, in an instant I would subdue their foes and turn against their tormentors” (Psalm 81).
But no! We are too “sophisticated!” We want to appear acceptable in the eyes of the other nations. We act like the Spies, who said, “We are like grasshoppers!” (Numbers 13:33) How much more suffering is going to rain down upon us before we wake up? How many tears must we shed? We have caught the disease of exile. We have learned to think like the surrounding nations! We are obsessed with their toys, while they plot to destroy us, G-d forbid! They speak the language of war, the language of “a sword, a spear, and a javelin,” but we have forgotten “hakol kol Yaakov - the voice is the voice of Jacob” (Genesis 27:22).
This Shabbos we read Parshas Shekalim, which commands every Jew to give a half shekel, which represents “kofer nafsho … an atonement for his soul … so that there will not be a plague among them…” (Exodus 30:12). But the plague is among us!
The tomb of Samuel the Prophet overlooks Jerusalem on the south and Ramallah on the north, a city teeming with enemies. Samuel the Prophet stands between, protecting us.
Don’t you think it would be a good idea for all of us who can go up to the resting place of Samuel the Prophet to rush there and cry out to G-d? Don’t you think we should implore the King of the Universe to send a new Samuel the Prophet to anoint the Son of David and bring our redeemer to end this horrible exile?
“Es Tzemach David …. We are hoping for Your salvation all day! May You speedily cause the Messiah, Your servant, to flourish … Blessed are You, G-d, who causes the keren of salvation to flourish” (Shemoneh Esreh prayer). The “horn of salvation” is the horn filled with the oil of anointment. This is what Samuel poured over David, and this is what we are waiting for.
And to those who cannot ascend to the tomb at this time, let us all pray to the Master of the Universe. Let’s wake up! One simply has to open one’s eyes and imagine what could be. Why should we tremble in fear? There is no reason for it! Why should we cower like sheep? G-d gave us hearts to love Him and brains to know Him! Why should we cling to vanity when we could live in Reality?
It was night when we ascended to the tomb. We looked southward toward the lights of Jerusalem and northward toward our enemies. Soon, we will look eastward and see a new dawn, in which “a sun of righteousness will shine for you who fear My Name, with healing in its rays…” (Malachi 3:20).
© Copyright 2016 by Roy S. Neuberger
* May I add, Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi is the only Rabbi I know that does in fact speak bravely and boldly for HaShem. (maybe a prophet? maybe a candidate for Moshiach?)