Written by Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati, Rabbi Gershon Avtzon
In last week’s Parsha, we learn about the appointment of kings and judges. The Torah view of Jewish kings in general and King Moshiach in particular is ability to accomplish their mission, originates from the nation that they lead.
This dichotomy (that they are the king and yet need to be given life by and through the people) is why kings are referred to as “the heart of the Jewish people” (Hilchos Melachim 3:6). Why do we single out the heart as an appropriate allegory for Jewish kings, and not another vital organ, like the brain?
The Rebbe explains that the heart also contains these two contrary characteristics. The heart gives life and vitality to the entire body while it itself is from the weakest organs.
How do we give life to the king? This is by showing our constant acceptance and dedication to the king. How do we express that?
In the well-known sicha of Beis Nissan 5748, which marked 68 years since the Frierdike Rebbe assumed leadership, the Rebbe discusses the concept of a Jewish king. The following are some of the main points of the sicha which shed light on this topic and explicate how we can express our acceptance to the king:
The relationship between the king and the people is manifested in two opposite ways. On the one hand, the king is totally exalted above the people which inspires awe and fear of the king. On the other hand, the relationship between the nation and the king is one of absolute connection. As the Rambam says, the king is the heart of the Jewish people. We are the limbs. The connection that exists between the heart and the limbs of the body is the ultimate of closeness. Just like the body receives its life-force from the heart, the Jewish nation receives its life from the king.
Not only does the nation receive its life from the king, but the entire existence of the king is dependent on the nation, as is written, “There is no king without a nation.” The fact that the nation is removed from the king directly affects his malchus-sovereignty, for true sovereignty of a king pertains only to those who are removed from him.
Therefore, the Rebbe continues, when the nation announces “Yechi HaMelech-Long live the king,” as was done in connection to Shlomo HaMelech and Dovid HaMelech, this affects not only the existence of the king, but the very life of the king as well.
In addition we need to speak about prophets in our time. In the words on the Rebbe (shoftim 5751):
One must make known to all members of the generation that we have merited that G-d has chosen a person endowed with free choice, who is incomparably higher than the members of his generation, to be “your judge,” “your counselor,” and the prophet of the generation. This chosen leader will provide the instructions and advice relevant to the service of all Jews and all people of the generation, in all matters of Torah and mitzvos, and daily conduct in the manner of “in all your ways, know Him” and “all your deeds (should be for the sake of Heaven). “[His counsel has] extended to the essential prophecy of “immediate Redemption” and instantly “Behold he (Moshiach) comes.”