Haftorah Vayechi

The Haftorah for Parashat Vayechi comes from the book of Melachim (Melachim I 2:1-12), a narrative featuring King David and Shlomo. As King David's life was drawing to ש close, Shlomo was in line to take the throne, King David advised Shlomo in various components of Kingship, including advising him on who could be the potential rebeller's to his throne and what action he would need to take on them.

King David gave him valuable advice necessary for a King, 'be strong and become a man (Melachim I 2:2),' he wanted reassurance that his son will be able to gain the reverence of all the world dominions, it could also be that at this stage of life, Shlomo was only 12 years of age, potentially being vulnerable for people taking advantage of him, due to his young age.

The most important thing to King David, is that his son, Shlomo, would walk in all the ways of Hashem, following all the mitzvot featured in the Torah. Very similar to this weeks Parashah, when Yaakov was on his death bed, he blessed all his sons, including the deputy of the Egyptian King, Yosef, wanting assurance that they were to follow in the mitzvot over the years to come and also gave all the tribes various potent blessings. We learn a lesson from this, how important it is not just to follow the mitzvot, however to honor ones father's wishes is seen as vital, however one has to follow through it the Torah way.

King David assures Shlomo that the throne will follow the Davidic line, since we learn in this weeks reading, the blessing of Kingship was awarded to Yehudah (Bereishit 49:8-12), his descendants to come were to been on the throne. The savior of Israel is to also descend from an individual from the tribe of Yehuda.

David advised Shlomo to exact retribution on his general, Yoav (Melachim I 2:5-6). He was deserving of the death penalty several years before when he killed Avner and Amasa, when he did not need to, since it was a time of peace. Since Yoav was still alive, David ordered Shlomo to find a way of punishing him for a capital offence, in fact the Medrash of Yalkut Shimoni understands that King David wanted to do an act of kindness to Yoav, since he was guilty of killing these two people, he wanted to spare him having punishment exacted onto him in the world to come, by having him punished in this world (Rashi).

King David urged Shlomo to show everlasting gratitude to Barzillai the Gileadite, a man who had supplied David with much food and sustenance at a time when he was fleeing from his son, Avshalom (Shmuel 19:32-41/ Shabbat 152). He wanted Barzillai to remain a permanent guest on the royal table. We learn an important rule from this, that in life if a person does another a favor, one should always have a debt of gratitude towards the other person and show it to the other person.

David also explained to Shlomo, that his teacher, Shimi Ben Gera, once had humiliated him, while fleeing from Avshalom, throwing stones at him and insulting him badly, despite later on pleading for forgiveness and mercy, David knew that Shimi could not be trusted and this posed serious danger to Shlomo's future kingship. David also pointed out that Shimi was a descendant of Benyamin, and that he did not accept the fact that the royal monarchy would be under the rule of the tribe of Yehudah. David stated that if Shimi was to rebel or sin any way, Shimi would be deserving of the death penalty (Melachim I 2:9/ Shabbat 105a).

The Haftorah concludes relating the death of King David, living 70 years, similar to the fact in Parshat Vayechi, Yaakov also died, however at the age of 147 years.

The Dvar Torah is dedicated to the recovery of Avraham Ben Sara who has had health problems recently, please pray for his full recovery.