Archive for April, 2015

Yehoash did what was upright in the eyes of the Almighty all his days, as Yehoyada the Kohen taught him.”

Rashi:

‘All his days, as Yehoyada taught him’ — But once Yehoyada died, then ‘the officers of Judah came to prostate themselves to the king’ (II Chronicles 24:17), and they deified him. They said to him: ‘One who enters the Holy of Holies for even one moment is in danger of death, but you hid there for six years! You are fitting to be a god!’ ‘Then he listened to them’ (ibid).

Seder Olam Rabah 18:

After the death of Yehoyada the Kohen, Yoash made himself into a deity, as it says, ‘They prostrated themselves to the king… Then the king listened to them’ (II Chronicles 24).

Shemoth Rabah 8:3:

From where do we know that Yoash made himself into a deity? As it says: ‘And after the death of Yehoyada, the officers of Judah came and prostrated themselves to the king. Then the king listened to them’ (II Chronicles 24). What is the meaning of, ‘and they prostrated themselves to the king’? That they made him into a deity. They said to him: ‘If you were not a god, you would not have come out after seven years in the Holy of Holies.’ He said to them, ‘It is so!’ And he accepted upon himself to become a deity.

Matenoth Kehunah (comments to Sh”R):

‘After seven years’ – from his birth. But he was only hidden six years, for so it is written in II Chronicles 24.

‘You would not have come out…’ – As it is written, ‘And the stranger who approaches shall die,’ and even the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) would only enter on Yom Kipur (the Day of Atonement), and with incense, and prayer and immersion, and if you were not a god, you would not have been able to remain alive there.

B’Midbar Rabah 23:13 (also Tanchuma Masey 12):

You find as long as Yehoyada was alive, Yoash acted according to the will of his Creator, as it says, ‘Yoash did what was upright in the eyes of the Almighty all his days that Yehoyada the Kohen guided him.’ ‘After the death of Yehoyada, the officers of Judah came and prostrated themselves to the king. Then the king listened to them’ (II Chronicles 24), accepting upon himself to made into a deity.

See also Agadath B’Reshith 49

MB-131-3-6In the above exerpt from Mishnah Berurah, the author cites as a halachic source the book Tanya, written by the famed Chasidic master Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, also known as the first Lubavitcher Rebbe. He goes on to say that the view of the Tanya is opposed by the book Dagul meRevavah, written by Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (aka the Noda bYhudah, after the name of his great work of responsa), but rules in favor of the Tanya’s opinion. The irony here is that Rabbi Landau was among the most vehement opponents (“misnagdim”) of Chasidism in his time, even though Rabbi Landau’s own cousin was the wife of none other than the Baal Shem Tov (Rabbi Israel Baal Shem), the founder of the Chasidic movement. The further irony is that Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, author of Mishnah Berurah, while certainly in his time took no part in the feud between the Chasidim and Misnagdim (the feud had mostly died away by his time), could squarely be identified as a leader of the non-Chasidic segment of Eastern European Jewry. Nevertheless, clearly, with no pro-Chasidic bias on his side, armed with purely legal tools of judgment, rules in favor of the view of Tanya against that of Dagul meRevavah. Fascinating.

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