Miketz – Unanimous Leadership

This year is very unique! It is rare that Shabbos Chanukah does not land on the Torah portion of Miketz and we don’t need to read the special haftorah for Chanukah. This week’s haftorah is taken from Melachim Alef and is the famous story of King Shlomo, the two women who laid claim to the baby and his advice to split the baby in half. This took place the next day after he woke up from his dream (which is a connection to the Torah portion where Pharaoh had his dreams of plenty and famine), where Hashem promised him He would grant him anything he asked for.  King Shlomo asked for wisdom in order to judge right from wrong. Hashem granted him intellect and wisdom to which there was no other, and there will never be another like it in the future.  

The next day  King Shlomo’s first test occurred when two ladies came into his court, each one claiming they were the mother of the living baby, and that the other’s baby had passed away. “And the king said, ‘Fetch me a sword.’ And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, ‘Divide the living child in two, and give half to  one, and half to the other.’ And the woman whose son (was) the live one, said to the king, for her compassion was aroused for her son, and she said, ‘O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means slay him.’ But the other said, ‘Let it be neither mine nor yours, divide (it).’ And the king answered and said, ‘Give her the living child, and by no means slay him: she (is) his mother.’ And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king; for they saw that the wisdom of God (was) in him to do judgment” (Melachim Alef 3:24-28).

The Yalkut Shimone says “in the name of Rebbe Shmuel bar Nachmani that King Shlomo’s lips started moving with wisdom and he said that Hashem really wanted this case to one day occur and that is why He created man in pairs, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two hands, and two legs. He began to decree that the child should be cut in half… when his advisors saw what was happening, they said, ‘Woe to you, O land whose king is a lad’ (Koheles 10:16), if he would not be a lad (between the age of 12-13 at the time) he would not have done this. When he said, ‘Give her the living child, and by no means slay him,’ they started to say, ‘Fortunate are you, O land, whose king is the son of nobles’ (Koheles 10:17).” (Click here for Hebrew text.)

The Haftorah concludes with the very next pasuk, “And King Shlomo was king over all Israel” (Melachim Alef 4:1). The Radak says that when the nation heard the judgement the king had judged they were afraid to do anything wrong even in secret for they saw that with all his wisdom justice will come out just as what happened in this case. The reason why this pasuk states the obvious that King Shlomo was king over all of Israel is because Dovid, his father, did not rule over all of Israel at the beginning of his reign, therefore the pasuk says here that Shlomo ruled over all of Israel, no one questioned his reign since they saw the wisdom of Elokim (G-D) within him to exact proper judgement. (Click here for Hebrew text.)

What made King Shlomo more convincing than his father, King Dovid, to be accepted by all from the onset of his reign? King Dovid was appointed by Hashem through the prophet Shmuel, and surely he had Divine Revelation, Ruach HaKodesh, for Chaza”l say King Dovid’s whole work of Tehillim (Psalms) was written with Ruach HaKodesh. Furthermore, King Dovid proved to be a brave and powerful ruler who  defended his country against the onslaught of any enemy like when he killed the giant, Goliath, and victoriously battling the Plishtim. So why wasn’t he instantaneously accepted as king over Israel but his son, Shlomo, who was perceived, at least from the outside, as being appointed king by his father, not directly by Hashem, though it was in fact by Divine appointment, he was still pretty much immediately accepted by the entire nation?

The Radak is telling us that though G-D sent the prophet Shmuel to anoint King Dovid as king, King Dovid was a mighty warrior, who protected the nation from the enemy, and he even had Ruach HaKodesh, Divine Revelation. But even so, to be immediately accepted by everyone, the nation expects the king to rule by Divine wisdom, and because King Shlomo was able to prove that he could lead the people and enforce proper judgement using what people could perceive as being wisdom directly from Hashem, he was therefore unanimously accepted as the king of Israel.

In a similar vein we find in this week’s Torah portion that Yosef was accepted by Pharaoh and all of Egypt as Second in Command over the entire country because he proved he had Divine wisdom by interpreting Pharaohs dreams in a way which seemed palpable, to the degree that the Ramban says that Pharaoh and his advisors felt as if the dreams were already fulfilled. The Radak there says that Yosef suggested to Pharaoh that he should appoint a wise and insightful person over Egypt, and Pharaoh appointed him because his wisdom was greater than all of the magicians and advisor. This must have been, as Pharaoh attested, because of the Spirit of the Lord, Ruach Elokim, which Yosef possessed. Pharaoh therefore gave Yosef the leadership in order to lead according to his intellect. (Click here for Hebrew text.)

We see from here that people are able to detect when a person has Divine Wisdom that he uses for the betterment of the country.  Everyone will be completely accepting to immediately subjugate themselves and trust the person who possesses and uses this type of intellect as their leader with unwavering awe and dedication. This defines a leader with unanimous leadership!