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King David: Unwavering Emunah in the face of darkness

Updated: Jun 22, 2022


​Contrary to common sense, the most important king of the Jews, from which the Mashiach will come, had arguably the most difficult life ever. No one was as tested as King David, who found himself in one calamity after the other, while at the same time never despairing of Hashem’s salvation.

​King David, was the son of the great Tzadik Yishai who, according to the sages, was one of the few people who never tasted sin in life. The fact that King David is the one who was chosen for the very special task of leading the Jewish People is testimony of the fact that Hashem had appointed him. In fact, in the Talmud we find Hashem severely rebuking David for a slight against Saul’s honor. He tells David: “Had Saul been in your place and you in his, I’d have killed many Davids(you) already!”.

​Nevertheless, King David maintained an otherworldly level of Emunah even while constantly engaging in battle against the Philistines, or when he was running away from Saul or his son Avshalom, and experiencing all other sorrows in his life.

​What can King David, from his exalted position teach us nowadays?


Kingship comes from acceptance

​As we saw in many previous articles, King David is parallels the Sephirah of Malkhut (Kingship), which, at its core is where acceptance and Emunah stands. Why must this be so? Shouldn’t a righteous king have servants taking care of him while he can focus on teaching people and ruling?

​The first step towards spiritual elevation is acceptance of Hashem’s ruling in the universe. This is one of the most difficult steps because it’s very difficult to find the strength in the middle of darkness. But it’s only through darkness that the light of Emunah can shine. The king must therefore have nothing of his own, as the Sephirah of Malkhut has nothing of its own (as we read from the Zohar לית לה מגרמא כלום) but receives all its light from the higher 9 Sephirot.

​In Kabbalah, King David’s name is written דוד, wherein the first Dalet ד represents lowliness, the middle Vav ו represents all the glory and riches he receives from Hashem. Finally, the final Dalet teaches that even with all that, David remains lowly and humble.

​As we know from the writings of the Arizal, humility refers to the Partzuf (spiritual system) of Leah, while Fear of Heaven to Rachel. This is the meaning of the verse from Mishlei (“Proverbs”), which teaches עקב ענוה יראת שמים which means that Fear of Heaven is at the feet of humility which is the very highest quality a person can acquire.


Kingship at home

​Rebbe Nachman in Likutey Moharan also speaks a lot about acquiring the trait of Kingship through the meal. A person should eat in a regal manner, never overindulging and always mindful of what goes inside his mouth. Doing this is actually, in his words, a powerful segulah for parnassah, since a person’s table represents the holy table from the Holy Temple, from which all sustenance is emanated from Heaven.

​Kingship is also noted from the way a person dresses, how he speaks and how he acts. One doesn’t need to parade with a mantle and crown, but everyone can and should walk with humility and with decent clean clothes (this is actually halacha). According to the Ramban (Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon) in his Letter for the Ages, one must never raise his voice even when others are screaming, and also consider everyone else higher than him. If someone is richer or wiser, weanyway have to honor him, and if not, then they might be more righteous than us. And even if that doesn’t happen, one should consider all other people’s sins unintentional and his own intentional! This is an incredibly deep secret and, in doing so, Hashem will, in the Ramban’s own language “elevate him to the greatest heights”. Many other Sephardi Kabbalists also teach that this is the way to acquire all the blessings in the world.

The Ba’al Shem Tov also used to say that “imagine all the effort a person has to put to be able to merely see Eliyahu HaNavi. Imagine all the prayers, cries, fasts, self-work and help from Heaven he needs to go through. Now imagine how much more he needs in order for Eliyahu HaNavi to just return his greeting! Now imagine that this can all be lost in a second if a person thinks for a second he’s better than his fellow!

​King David teaches us all that and a lot more. He is currently buried in the old city of Jerusalem, near the walls he helped build. It’s a very beautiful and powerful place of pilgrimage.

This article was written and published in the zechut of all Emuna Builder Partners. May they have complete emuna and continue spreading emuna!

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