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Beit Midrash Series Ein Ayah

Only the Dead Are Eternal

Various RabbisTamuz 26 5775
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(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:48)

Gemara: [About the fact that David was recognized as having been forgiven, it is said:] Isn’t it correct that which Shlomo said: "I praise the dead who already died."

Ein Ayah: There is a wonderful lesson here. The past, when it is wonderful and holy, impacts on the flow of time in the present and the future to a degree that the present could not reach had they not drawn great value from the past. As history extends over time, treasures "hidden" by the great past, through the actions of great people who were sent by Divine Providence to be cherished by all generations, are uncovered.
We see with our own eyes the extent to which the short reign (in historical terms) of King David impacted on the nation by means of the sanctity of the anointed of the G-d of Yaakov. It is specifically with the perspective of the eras after David, as a person, was gone that we became able to see the great eternal value of his actions and his standing as "David the King of Israel is alive and remaining." The longevity of his specific kingdom’s impact, well after the practical impact of the person’s actions were gone, is part of what makes it clear how important he is to the nation. During his lifetime it was harder to sense that his standing was eternal.
That is what his son Shlomo meant by praising the dead, for only when they are dead do we feel that they will live forever.

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