Wednesday, December 06, 2006


The Gemora stated that if one king died during the month of Adar and another king succeeded him in Nissan, we count the first year according to the first king and the second year according to the second king. The Gemora explains this case to be referring to a case where it was decided in the month of Adar who should be the second king and he was the son of the previous king. One would think that since the kingdom is an inheritance passed down from the father to his son, it should be regarded as the second king’s reign began in Adar. The braisa teaches us that this is not so and the reign begins when he actually ascends the throne.

The Rambam in Hilchos Melochim (1:7) rules that when the son of a king is appointed to become the king after his father died, there is no need to anoint him since the monarchy is an inheritance which is passed down from father to son.

The Chasam Sofer (O”C 12) asks that if so, why does our Gemora learn that the son is not the king until Nissan and what is all the deliberation about? As soon as the father died in Adar, his son should automatically ascend the throne and become the king?

He answers that there is a distinct difference between the inheritance of the Jewish Kings and those of the Gentiles. By us, it is not automatic that a son who is a fool or an imbecile will succeed his father in becoming the king. He will ascend the throne only if he is fit for it. If the son is an appropriate choice to become the king, it is an inheritance and he takes preference over someone else even if the other person is better qualified. This is the deliberation that our Gemora is referring to.

However, the question is not completely resolved since after the deliberation and the decision that the son is suitable to become the king, shouldn’t he become king automatically? Why was it necessary to wait for Nissan to formally appoint him as the king?

HaRav Elyashiv Shlita answers that while it is true that he becomes the king immediately after the conclusion of their deliberation, he is not considered the king in regards to contracts and documents until he actually ascends the throne and that took place in Nissan. The Sages instituted this in order for it to be extremely clear as to when the king’s year began.

Rabbi Dovid Goldberg cites a Meiri and a Chinuch (497) that one is not considered a king unless there is approval from the entire nation and if they do not approve, he is not regarded as the king. According to this, we can answer that initially the Chachamim deliberated to perceive if the son is fit and after they reached their conclusion in Adar, he still may not ascend the throne until the nation agreed to their decision and that transpired in Nissan.


Ronnie said...

Does the Meiri or the Chinuch have a source for that chidush? I understand "ein melech b'lo am" but he actually needs their haskamah? and Dovid in the beginning was not a melech then? how many people need to agree?

Avromi said...

The Meiri just says it here that there was a haskama from the people - it seems that that was part of the process.

Perashas drochim explains a yerushalmi that the 6 months that dovid was running away from avshalom, he didnt have a din melech (which possibly can explain the cheshbon of dovid's malchus when you add it up it totals 40 and a half and it should be 40).
Chida also writes like this.
Diyuk in rashi in our gemora that he says hasarim, the officers appointed him.

ben said...

interesting that Rashi in Mishnah learns that melachim refers to gentile kings but in Gemara he quotes passuk of למען יאריך ימים, implying that we're referring to מלכי ישראל?

Avromi said...

good kasha - its actually clear from daf gimmel that we are referring to malchei yisroel only, so the kasha on rashi in the mishna is from the gemora later. there are tirutzim.

ben said...

I remember having a kasha there from Koresh who the Gemara says was a מלך כשר and therefore he's considered to be מלכי ישראל and someone answered that since the Gemara states further כאן קודם שהחמיץ כאן אחר שהחמיץ, Rashi is not shver because after he went off he was like מלכי עכו"ם.