10 June 2016


“Ana Hashem Hoshia na … Please, G-d, save now! Please G-d, save now!”


There is a magnificent chapter in The Book of Our Heritage (the classic translation of Sefer HaToda’ah by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov zt”l), which I have the custom of reading aloud to the family on Shavuos. It is called “Rus and David,” and I cry every time I read it.

David’s personality is so expansive that it seems to touch the very depths of the earth and reach upward to the Throne of Glory. David is as real as you can get. This is why David is worthy to be King of Israel and the progenitor of the Messiah. Today we have “leaders” who choose their words according to survey results. King David, on the other hand, spoke so straight that his words often seemed to his own detriment. He was not afraid to say, “I am a worm and not a man, scorn of humanity, despised of people!” (Psalm 22:7) Does this sound as if he is running for office? No, my friends, it is more like he is running away from office!

Only one who thinks of himself as the lowest of the low is able to be the King of Israel. We need straight people, people who are not posturing for the camera. The King has to be infinitely above corruption, a man who will not prostrate himself before the idolatrous popular standards of decadence and corruption. The King has to believe that he belongs in the dust bin, because he knows and shows that only G-d lifts us out of the dust bin.

“Mikimi mai’afar dal … He raises the needy from the dust, from the trash heaps He lifts the destitute, to seat them with nobles, with the nobles of His people” (Psalm 113).

Why is King David associated with the time of the Giving of our Torah? And why did he have to come from Ruth the Moabite, the eternally-shining light who arose from the most reviled nation? Please listen to Rabbi Kitov.

“David … was the mightiest of kings, the most pious of the pious, wisest among the wise, humble among the modest, and the most glorious of poets who sang praise before G-d. Notwithstanding all this, no one suffered as much anguish in his life as David… which did not leave him until his very last day…. David himself testified to his anguish: ‘Save me, G-d, for the waters (that threaten to drown me) have reached my very soul.’

“Sent away from his own home, a pariah in the community … David found rich pasture and clear, flowing waters for his soul, which thirsted for G-d, in the wilderness to which he fled. There, where no one knew him or saw him, he sought to draw close to G-d … free from the love of his fellow man and their longing for him, and free from their enmity…”

Why was it necessary for David to flee? Why was he so hated and ostracized? Why was his light so concealed? Why, in fact, was the light of Ruth, his great grandmother, so concealed as to have been buried for some seven hundred years (Kitov) in the trash heap of Moab, the most reviled nation on earth? Finally, what does all this have to do with Shavuos?

My friends, we are dealing here with reality. Since mankind was expelled from the Garden of Eden – as a result of our First Parents’ rebellion against G-d – we have lived in darkness. The great light which shone in the Garden of Eden has been taken away from us. We have forfeited the spiritual purity required to be able to benefit from that light. Our souls have gone after the desires of our senses, just as Eve and Adam forfeited everything because they desired to eat one fruit. With each passing minute of our exile from the Garden of Eden, we have “followed our hearts and our eyes” ever lower into the trash bin, searching for ever more exotic fruit, lower and lower into the darkness, further and further from our Father in Heaven.

The only relief in mankind’s downward plunge has come from the Torah which G-d gave to His Holy Nation at Mount Sinai. Except for that, mankind’s entire history has been to descend deeper into the trash heap.

This is why the Messiah must come from the trash heap! This is why the Messiah must come from Moab, and David must come from Ruth. There is no other way! This is where we are and this is our only way out! But we have to know: there is a way out!

Why was David so reviled and ostracized? Because the majority of mankind is living in the trash heap. When they see someone who has ascended to spiritual greatness and is cleaving to the Ruler of the Universe, they try to pull that person down to their level. They themselves despair of arising from the depths. They have given up, and they cannot tolerate to see someone who has not only not given up, but who has in fact succeeded in rising to celestial heights.

The choice is ours. We can ascend like King David! But in order to do so, we must acknowledge our own nature and cry out with him, “Ana Hashem Hoshia na … Please, G-d, save now! Please G-d, save now!” In order to rise to the heights of the universe, it is first necessary to acknowledge that we are in the trash heap. Only then can we cry out with all our strength. This is Passover, where we began at the forty-ninth level of impurity. This is the Counting of the Omer, where we climb upward, step by step. And this is Shavuos, where, if we will so merit, G-d will give us the Torah and save us with the coming of the Messiah the Son of David!

“Lishuasecha … We hope for Your salvation all day long!” Soon may we see the Redemption!

© Copyright 2016 by Roy S. Neuberger


annie said...

Amen Amen Amen!!!

Atlas Raider said...

O how we need a David in our times..Shalom Shabbat x Happy Shavuot