Love of the Land

For the week ending 31 August 2002 / 23 Elul 5762

David - The Dignity of Clothes

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

King David grew old and the garments which covered him failed to give him warmth. (Melachim I, 1:1)

Thus begins Sefer Melachim, the first Book of Kings.

An interesting explanation is provided by our Talmudic Sages as to why heavenly intervention denied David the material warmth which clothes supply. Anyone who shows a lack of respect for clothes, they state, will in the end not benefit from them.

This is a reference to an incident preceding Davids reign as king. Fleeing from King Saul, who saw him as a rival, David found refuge in a cave in the wilderness area of Ein Gedi. When Saul entered that very cave alone for relaxation, David had an opportunity to slay his royal adversary. He contented himself instead with secretly snipping off the edge of the kings coat in order to later prove that such an opportunity had been waived out of loyalty.

It was this lack of respect for the dignity of clothes which boomeranged against him at the end of his days.

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