Inside the Book of Shmuel
Item #: S575
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The Book of Shmuel contains personal portraits of some of the greatest people in Jewish history. The details of their lives and personalities are filled in by the Talmud, Midrash and Jewish Tradition. Here, Rabbi Berel Wein blends all of the threads and presents fascinating insights into the lives of the great people who populate the pages of the Book of Shmuel.
Eli Ha Kohen - The key to understanding Eli Ha Kohen is in his relationships. The loving care he showed to his young apprentice Shmuel make for some of the most tender passages in Tanach, while the blind spots he had for his sons represent the deepest of tragedies. With Eli's example and its echoes later in history, Rabbi Wein illustrates the delicate balance between fathers and sons, mentors and students, rabbis and the Jews they lead.
Shmuel Hanavi - The prophet Shmuel is the transitional figure between the period of Judges and the age of Kings, and he embodies the advantages of each type of rule. He is also a prime example of the how Jews must be meticulous with their words. Summarizing Shmuel Ha Navi's triumphs and failures, his righteousness and his errors, Rabbi Wein brings out the moral lessons we can learn from him.
Shaul Hamelech - The paradox of Shaul Hamelech - the most pious of men who was prone to cruelty and paranoia - makes him one of the most complex figures in Tanach. Rabbi Wein cites a variety of commentaries regarding Shaul Hamelech, from those which sing his praises to those which criticize him roundly. In reconciling these apparent contradictions, he gives a fascinating dissection of the character and reign of the first Jewish king.
Dovid Hamelech - Almost on par with Moshe Rabbeinu, the Talmudic rabbis considered Dovid Hamelech a paradigm of Jewish leadership. Both men possessed the key ingredient in a Jewish leader: humility and willingness to admit to wrongdoing. Rabbi Wein demonstrates Dovid's fearlessness not only in battle, but in facing the hard truth about himself.
Avner, Avsholom, Yehonason, and Yoav - Rabbi Wein examines the roles of five "peripheral" characters in the Book of Shmuel, each of whom had a fateful connection to Shaul Hamelech, Dovid Hamelech, or both. Whether treacherous or peaceful, each of these five men altered the course of history through their interactions with the kings, and an understanding of their deeds gives us insight into the Book of Shmuel as a whole.