Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Young Shlomo's Wisdom

Print Version 
The Haftora for Mikeitz is not read every year, because it is often Shabbos Chanukah, which has its own Haftora. It is a short Haftora, with little commentary, but at the same time, it is one of the most famous stories in the Tanach.

The connection to our parsha, is that the Haftora begins with Shlomo Hamelech waking up from a dream, realizing that the dream was a true prophecy from Hashem. Similarly, in the parsha, King Pharaoh had dreams and woke up knowing that his dreams were of national importance. Yosef was summoned to interpret the dreams, which he did with G-dly wisdom, which was bestowed upon him. Similarly, in the Haftora, Shlomo's G-dly wisdom is displayed, as he adjudicated a case before the Sanhedrin, in which there were no witnesses. Everyone was amazed by his G-dly wisdom, as in the parsha, Pharaoh was amazed by Yosef's G-dly wisdom. The Haftora ends with "And King Shlomo was king over all Israel." similarly in the parsha, Yosef ruled over all of Egypt.

If we look deeper into the Haftora, we can find a timeless message for us all.

The Haftora begins with Shlomo Hamelech waking up from a dream, however no mention is made of the details of the dream in the Haftora. If you go back a few verses in the chapter, there is the most beautiful dream, a conversation between Hashem and a twelve year old king, who just ascended the throne. Hashem tells him that he will grant him a wish, and Shlomo asked for wisdom. Hashem is pleased with his request, and grants him wealth and fame as well. When he wakes up, he hears birds chirping and understands what they are saying. He realized that the dream had come true.

Why doesn't the Haftora include the dream, after all, in the parsha, Pharaoh's dreams are included?

In the parsha, Pharaoh's dreams are necessary to understand the wisdom displayed when Yosef interprets them. However, Shlomo's wisdom displayed in the Haftora, was not in explaining the dream. It is enough just to tell us that he had a dream. Even more, his dream was a personal one, while Pharaoh's dreams were of national consequence.

The Haftora continues with two women who came before Shlomo. One said that she gave birth to a boy, and a few days later the other woman also gave birth to a boy. They were home alone, when the other woman, while sleeping, laid on her baby, suffocating him. She then switched the babies. When the first mother woke up to nurse her baby, she found that he was dead. At closer inspection though, she realized that it wasn't her son, and understood what happened.

The other woman cried out, "My son is the live one and your son is dead," and they argued before the king.

Shlomo already knew through prophecy, who the real mother was, but he wanted to show with logical proof that she was the mother, so that it be accepted by the people, so he came up with a risky, but creative solution.

He explained, "This one says, 'This is my son, the live one and the dead one is your son,' and this one says, 'Not so, your son is the dead one and my son is the live one.'"Then he said, " Bring me a sword," and they brought a sword. He said. "Divide the live boy in two, give one half to one and the other half to the other."

You could imagine the scene, everyone standing around and a twelve year old king is suggesting the most heinous of judgments. They were losing confidence, that allowing him to be king, was a good idea. But then, the live boy's mother, having compassion on her baby said, "My lord, give the baby to her, just don't put him to death," and the other one said, "Let him be neither mine nor yours, divide him."

The king spoke up and said, "Give her (the first woman) the living child, and don't put him to death." A voice came from heaven and confirmed, "She is the mother."

What is the lesson to be taken from this story?

The two mothers symbolize two influences, the Torah's and modern society's. They are battling over every Jewish child. Modern society's child was smothered and died, because every way of thinking, ultimately dies as a new way of thinking dawns, with the exception of the Torah way, which remains the same. Even more, being that the Torah way is from Hashem, it is always true and not subject to change. Whereas human beings thinking, as noble as they sound, are at best, attempts at being correct. And as history attests, even with the best of intentions, they end up failing, and in many cases, they backfire and end in disaster.

The question is, who will get the child? The judges are the parents. Many make a grave mistake, thinking, I will educate him in both, some for G-d, and some for the world, in other words godlessness. This is cutting the child in half, not physically, but spiritually, mentally, morally, and emotionally. As the real mother said, "Give the baby to her, just don't put him to death." Of course the Torah way is best, but it is better to give the child to the world’s way, than to cut him in half.

Giving your children a Jewish education and upbringing, is by far the best thing that you can do for them. Even the secular studies at Jewish schools are done in accordance with the Torah way of thinking.

May you have nachas from your children, and bring them up in the Torah way. In this merit we will surely merit the coming of Moshiach. May he come soon.


  1. Wonderful angle on a story I've heard since I was a child. Thank you for your insight.

  2. Wow, beautiful!
    I hope all is well but was just wondering why recently the past weeks' Haftoros have been coming out the next week? Until I saw the article in the last week's Mishpacha Magazine how busy you are!!
    To all my fellow readers I say: Go out and read that article! (also available online)
    And I also say: My fellow readers, go to RunforYitzi and make a donation for our dear teacher and mentor Rav Yitzi! He's a true Torah Scholar and till today spends most of time learning the holy Torah. He spends much effort and time giving us weekly inspiration, and supporting him is more than helping a fellow Yid. It's the support of Torah Learning and scholarship! Let us rally ourselves and our friends for this friend of ours, that we maybe only know from his wonderful blogs. And let us all storm the Heavens with our prayers for his speedy recovery!
    All the Best and Shabbat Shalom!

  3. Here is the link: