Ahavah She-Ainah Teluyah B'Davar"
is also Erev Rosh
Chodesh, the day immediately preceding a Rosh Chodesh.
On Shabbatot that coincide with Special Days of this nature, a
Special Haftarah is recited, replacing the Haftarah usually recited on
that Shabbat. This
Special Haftarah is also the classic example in all of the Bible of
"Friendship" between two human beings.
Crown-Prince of Israel, son of Shaul HaMelech, King Saul, plans with David
how to make a conclusive determination of the feelings of his father
towards David. The plan is
that David will remain hidden till the third night of the New Moon, and
the following day, they will use a code contained within the instructions
Yehonatan will give to a young child.
Yehonatan will shoot three arrows and if he says to the boy,
"The arrows are before you - come and collect them," all is
well, and Shaul has only peaceful intentions with regard to David.
If, however, he says to the boy, "The arrows are beyond
you," that will mean that Shaul does really intend to harm David.
himself; Rosh Chodesh comes and the King's regular Feast is held; David's
place is empty. On the first
day of David's absence, Shaul notices it, but does not say a word,
thinking that perhaps David is ritually unclean that day, and could not
therefore attend the Feast.
But when on
the second day, David is still absent, Shaul interrogates Yehonatan,
"Why did the son of Yishai not come to the Feast, neither yesterday
nor today?" Yehonatan responds
that David had been invited by his brothers to a family celebration and
had asked permission of Yehonatan to be excused from the royal feast.
"sees through" the excuse offered by Yehonatan in behalf of
David, and becomes furious with his son.
He calls him a rebellious son who, Shaul knows, prefers David and
would willingly withdraw from the kingship in favor of his friend.
Shaul demands that Yehonatan bring David to him to be executed!
this, Yehonatan angrily retorts, "Why
should he die? What did he
do?" (Shmuel 1, 20:32) Shaul
then throws his spear at Yehonatan as if to kill him, making it clear to
Yehonatan that his father indeed has murderous intentions with regard to
Yehonatan rose from the table in a fury, and he ate nothing on the Second
Day, for he was extremely upset concerning David, for his father had
embarrassed him." (Shmuel 1, 20:34)
morning, Yehonatan goes to the field, as he had arranged with David, and a
small child is with him. He
says to the boy, "Fetch the arrows that I will shoot."
He shoots three arrows in a direction away from David, and when the
boy reaches the place where the arrows are, Yehonatan calls to him,
"The arrows are beyond you!"
And Yehonatan says to the boy, "Hurry, don't just stand
around," and the boy gathers the arrows that Yehonatan had shot.
The boy knows nothing of the significance of what has taken place;
but Yehonatan and David understand perfectly well.
Yehonatan gives his weapons to the boy and says "Go and take
these to the city."
lad does as he is told, and David rises from his hiding place towards the
south and bows three times to the ground before Yehonatan.
They kiss each other, and they weep each for the other, until David
gains control of his emotions. And
Yehonatan says to David, 'Go in peace; may that which we have sworn to
each other, in the name of Hashem, be fulfilled; and may the Eternal One
remain between our descendants forever.' " (Shmuel 1, 20: 41-42)
Between the Haftarah and Erev Rosh Chodesh
above under the heading of This
Year, this Haftarah demonstrates the ideal of friendship between two
human beings. Friendship, in Judaism, is considered to be an extremely
important aspect of life.
Avot (2:13), Rabbi Yochanan ben Zaccai asks
his five greatest students to define the main ingredient of a good and
noble life. Rabbi Yehoshua
analyzed his life experience and determined that the most important way
for a person to lead a good life was to
be and to acquire a good friend.
Pirkei Avot (1:6), Yehoshua ben Perachiah says, "Establish for
yourself a teacher and purchase for
yourself a friend." Having
and being a good friend are considered by these great Sages of Israel as
among the most important values.
the great Sages of Israel, Choni HaMeagel, who preceded Rip van Winkle by
a few millenia, after having a long sleep of many years, and awaking to
find himself without friends or associates, said to Hashem "Either
give me friends or give me death!"
Haftarah read this week takes a piece of life from the tapestry of the
relationship between David and Yehonatan and presents it as the
classic example of friendship,
of unselfish love, of a relationship which lasts forever, as Yehonatan
said to David at their parting in the Haftarah, "May Hashem Be
between our descendants forever." (Shmuel 1, 20: 23)
in Chapter 5, Mishnah 19, says the following, "Any type of love that
is dependent on some thing, when that thing disappears, the love
disappears with it; but a love that is not dependent on any
thing, lasts forever."
is an example of love which was dependent on something? The love of Amnon (a son of David) and Tamar (a daughter of
David, from a different wife) - Amnon had a desperate passion for his
half-sister, but when that passion was satisfied, the love turned to
what is an example of love which was not dependent on anything? The love
between David and Yehonatan."
Background on David and Yehonatan
great impression that David made upon Yehonatan was when he slew the
Philistine giant, Galyat, who had been taunting the forces of Israel and
their G-d. David had said to
the giant warrior, "You come against me with a sword, a spear and a
javelin; but I come against you with the Name of the G-d of Hosts, the G-d
of the forces of Israel, Whom you have taunted." (Shmuel 1, 17:45)
killed the giant with his sling-shot, he had been brought before Shaul,
who asked him who he was. And
David had answered humbly and unassumingly, "I am David, the son of
your servant Yishai, of Bet Lechem." (Shmuel 1, 17:58)
It was when
David finished speaking with Shaul that "the soul of Yehonatan became
knit with the soul of David; and Yehonatan loved him as he loved his own
self.' (Shmuel 1, 18:1) "Then
Yehonatan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own
soul. And Yehonatan stripped
himself of the royal robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his
other royal apparel, even to his sword and his bow
" (Shmuel 1,
This act of
bravery made such an impression upon Yehonatan because he too was a
valiant warrior in behalf of his People, and was fearless in attacking
forces much greater than his own, as we learn in Shmuel 1, Chapter 14.
were Yehonatan and David warriors on the battlefield, they were also
warriors in the "milchamta
shel Torah," the "war of Torah."
They sat together at the head of the Sanhedrin in their time, with
David the "Nasi," the "Prince-of-Torah," and
Yehonatan the "Av Bet Din," the Chief Justice, thus
comprising the unofficial
earliest of the "Zugot,"
the Pairs, mentioned in the first chapter of Pirkei Avot, who led the
Jewish People in both temporal and spiritual matters.
expressed his friendship and the depth of his feeling for Yehonatan and
Shaul in the moving elegy which he recited after they were both killed in
a battle with the Philistines. He
praises them both as brave defenders of Israel, and saviors of the people
Yehonatan, words burst forth from David, as if they had been present but
held in check for many years. He
laments, "I am in sorrow for you, my brother, Yehonatan, you were so
very pleasant to me; your love for me exceeded the love of women."
last expression, concerning Yehonatan's love for David as exceeding the
love of women, can be understood by referring to the RAMBAM, who
compares the love of G-d that a
Jew is obligated to have, to the love of a woman, and perhaps this, the
Divine Image, is not far from the way that Yehonatan perceived David.
of the discussion above was based on that in "Chazon HaMikra,"
("Prophetic Vision in the Bible"), by Rav
Yissachar Yaakovson, published by Sinai, Tel-Aviv; some source
material was also
found in "The Midrash Says - On the Weekly Haftaros," by
Rabbi Moshe Weissman,
published by Benei Yaakov Publications, Brooklyn, N.Y. and some in
"Otzar Ishei HaTanach -
Demusam U-Pa'alam Bephi Chazal," ("A Compendium of
Biblical Personalities - Their
'Lives and Works,' as Expressed by the Sages"), by Y.Y.
Chasida, published by Reuven Maas, Jerusalem - all excellent sources for
study of the Tanach!
Rabbi Pinchas Frankel
Rabbi Frankel is an Educational Coordinator at the OU