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Pretender to the Throne

11/11/2020 12:17:23 PM


Rabbi Brent Spodek

Thousands of years ago, when the reign of King David was coming to an end, there was a succession problem which we read about in this weeks haftorah. 

Adonia, David’s vain and self-centered son, declared himself king, despite having no authority to do so. As is often the case with charismatic narcissists, Adonia found sycophants among those who were entrusted with protecting the kingdom, such as Yoav the general and Evyatar the priest. These traitors abdicated their responsibilities to the people of Israel and attempted to support the illegitimate king. 

Although Yoav and Evyatar debased themselves, Adonia was ultimately denied the throne, because in the words of the talmudic sage Rav, “he tried to make the crown fit him, but it did not fit.”

Indeed, Solomon took to the throne and became one of the greatest leaders of the Jewish people, governing with justice and mercy. Adonia who was clearly not fit for leadership, was abandoned by those who were quick to lick his boots during his ascent, and was left to live out his remaining years in isolation, perpetually in fear of punishment for his transgressions.

As we live through our own moment of leadership crisis, we can only hope that those as wise as Solomon prevail today, as they did back then. 

Thu, August 5 2021 27 Av 5781