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Interactions between Yehuda and Yosef over the Generations Part IV

The attribute of kingdom is the last among seven important characteristics in Jewish thought.


Rabbi Yossef Carmel

Shvat 5783
[We have seen that the descendants of Kalev opposed the choice of David as the king among the tribe of Yehuda. Now we will see why they were wrong.]
The attribute of kingdom is the last among seven important characteristics in Jewish thought. There is a kabbalistic idea that a king having nothing of his own. Therefore, we can conclude that the basic quality of a king is to be humble. Humility can come on different planes. We will present one example where this finds expression.
Yehuda received kingdom for the tribe that came from him because he approached the then disguised Yosef and agreed to give up everything on behalf of the important value of unity between the brothers. In an effort to receive atonement for the sale of Yosef as a slave, he was ready to volunteer to serve as a slave for the viceroy of Egypt in order to free his younger brother Binyamin from that fate and enable him to return to his father. Yehuda was willing to give up even his ability to rule over himself and control his life in order to create a life of morality, bereft of selfishness or elitism. He was willing to become a nothing.
As we have seen in previous installments, Kalev asked for the land around Chevron, which Moshe had promised him. He also hinted at his expectation of leadership and even referred, in talking to Yehoshua, to what Moshe had said "about me and about you," putting himself before Yehoshua. However, even as great a man as Kalev, who relied on Hashem without fear from the challenges of conquering the Land, including the giants, needed a basic building block of the level of leadership he sought – humility.
This is in contrast to the person from the Tribe of Yehuda who ended up receiving the kingdom, David. David said: "I am a worm and not a man, a disgrace of a person and despised by the nation" (Tehillim 22:7). The gemara (Chulin 89a) praises Bnei Yisrael as possessing the attribute of minimizing their self-value even when Hashem bestows greatness upon them, and they give the above pasuk as evidence of that trait.
The kingdom of mankind is liable to weaken regard for divine dominion, and monarchal humility minimizes this danger. For this reason, Yishai describes David, whom he had not presented to Shmuel, as "the small one was left" (Shmuel I 16:11), even though David was not the youngest of Yishai’s sons. Rather he was the one who treated himself as the least significant. It is therefore not surprising that we never find David putting his personal interest before that of the nation.
Two mashiachs will liberate Israel on the "appointed day" – Mashiach the Son of Yosef and Mashiach the Son of David. These are representatives of what the prophet Yechezkel calls the "tree of Yosef" and the "tree of Yehuda."
When we need to choose a leader, we must look for a person who is capable and has proven that he acts in the way that is needed. This is a primary requirement. Among those who meet that requirement, it is necessary to choose the "small one," who minimizes his own persona and certainly does not try to lower his competitors’ stature. A proper leader values the needs of the nation over his own!

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