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Defining a King's Role


Parshas Vayishlach

“And these are the Kings that ruled in the land of Edom (Esav's birthright) before the kings of Israel. And in Edom, Belah... ruled and he died. And Yovav ruled in his place...and he died, etc.”

There is an enigmatic account of eight kings descending from Esav at the end of this weeks Parsha. It is difficult to decipher any particular message in the recounting of the rule and death of these eight kings. What are we supposed to learn from this historical account?

As much as we usually relate to Esav, Yaakov's brother, as the wicked rasha, the pasuk teaches that Yitzchak loved him and Yaakov wanted his love (Rashi 32, 6). We are also told that Esav's head is buried in the Ma’aras HaMachpeilah, the burial place of the spiritual giants of our people. It is clear that Esav had tremendous talents and abilities and that his father and brother understood that. His descendents inherited his greatness. However, they inherited another quality; the inability of living with anyone else, of having to “have it their way”. Esav was great but only in his head, only “in theory”.

The idea of each king of Edom ruling and then dying means that they used their unique, individual quality and “ruled” over all other ideas, forces, and people. Unfortunately, they couldn't live with anyone, they ruled alone and they died alone, meaning their strength was used, but was used up without connecting to others. On the other hand, a Jewish king is called “the heart of the people”. He connects and pumps life into everyone, helping them become themselves with the goal of connecting all of the Jewish people and all of the world.

Our students have special and powerful talents. Often, they only know how to use these talents on their own grounds and their own terms. A major goal of Yeshivas Lev Zion is to help them harness their talents, give them the ability to use them, but with the understanding that they can only reach their greatness when connecting to and helping others.

We hope and pray that our students become kings in their own way, helping and encouraging others to become all they can become.

~ Rabbi Dovid Charlop is a senior Rebbe at Lev Zion and has been utilizing his tremendous warmth and care helping students for over 35 years.

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