Parshas Shoftim

Shlomo HaMelech made 3 seforim:
Mishlei Koheles and Shir HaShirim
to do Teshuveh on the 3 Lo Ta’asehs

Dear Chaveirim.

In this week’s mamar for parshas Shoftim, we discuss a sensitive but nevertheless important subject, concerning the three Lo-Ta’ase – prohibitions, that a Jewish king was warned against — the accumulation of horses, wives and excessive personal wealth as it says (Devorim 17, 16):

“Only he shall not have too many horses for himself, so that he will not return the people to Egypt in order to increase horses, for Hashem has said to you, “You shall no longer return on this road again.” And he shall not have too many wives, so that his heart not turn astray; and he shall not greatly increase silver and gold for himself”.

Surprisingly we learn that Shlomo HaMelech fell victim to all three of these mitzvos lo ta’aseh. He took many wives, stating confidently that they would not lead him astray; he accumulated many horses stating that they would not lead him back to Egypt; he accumulated a lot of silver and gold thinking that his wisdom will avoid all obstacles but yet he failed with all three…

A Beautiful Lesson from the Rambam

The Rambam writes in Sefer HaMitzvos (Mitzvah 365) that this should serve as a crucial lesson for each and every Jew, not to get too clever interpreting Hashem’s mitzvos in such a way, which will cause him to disobey the mitzvos, thinking that this specific reason doesn’t apply to him.

If Shlomo HaMelech, the wisest of all men, fell victim to all three of these mitzvos lo ta’aseh, because he thought that the reasons don’t apply to him, how can we, who are less wise and weaker than Shlomo HaMelech, dare chas vesholom to disobey a certain mitzvoh, claiming that the reason for this mitzvoh doesn’t apply to us.

So, now we must solve the unbelievable mystery — how could Shlomo HaMelech, gifted by HKB”H with such tremendous wisdom, fail as he did? The pessukim tell us (Melochim I 3, 5):

In Givon, Hashem appeared to Shlomo in a dream, at night. G—d said to him, “Request that which I shall give you.” Shlomo said…Hashem, my G—d, you have crowned Your servant in place of my father, David, but I am a young lad; I do not know how to go out or come in… May you grant Your servant an understanding heart, to judge your people, to distinguish between good and evil.”

“G—d said to him, “Because you have requested this thing… and did not request riches… I have given you a wise and understanding heart such that there has never been anyone like you before, nor will anyone like you ever arise”.

In light of this we are full of astonishment! How is it possible that with the wisdom that Hashem gave him more than any other human being as a reward for not requesting material wealth. Yet, in the end, based on his wisdom, he tripped on all three mitzvos lo ta’aseh imposed upon the king, thinking that they don’t apply to him.

Bezras Hashem I would like to suggest a new idea based on what the Gemoreh (Avodah Zoreh 4b) teaches us that Dovid HaMelech stumbled and, consequently, sinned, in order to demonstrate the path of teshuvah to individuals. In addition, we have learned in the Gemoreh (Bova Basra 116a) that David’s son, Shlomo, followed in his father’s footsteps.

So, we can suggest that what occurred with David also occurred with Shlomo. In other words, HKB”H intentionally stated the reasons for the three mitzvos aimed at the king, so that Shlomo HaMelech, the wisest of men, would fail in these matters. His failures provided a valuable lesson to all that one should fulfill all of the mitzvos with simple faith, without any other calculations.

How fitting is it what Chazal said (Shabbos 56b): “Anyone who claims that Shlomo sinned is simply mistaken” — similar to the statement made about his father (Shabbos 56a): “Anyone who claims that Dovid sinned is simply mistaken”. Both men were truly tzaddikim, holy and pure; their failures were ordained in order to demonstrate the ways of Hashem to the masses.

In this manner, we come up with an idea. Since Shlomo HaMelech’s failure in the three Lo Ta’ase were designed by Hashem to demonstrate for Klal Yisroel the importance of serving Hashem without ulterior motives or calculations, this is why HKB”H provided him with the Ruach Hakodesh to author the three seforim: Mishlei, Koheles and Shir HaShirim — to rectify the three mitzvos lo ta’aseh.

More details about about the connection between the three seforim: Mishlei, Koheles and Shir HaShirim and the three Lo Ta’ase we will leave for the mamar.

A wonderful Shabbos


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Translation Shoftim 5771


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