Yerovom’s hubris led to his eternal downfall

By Rabbi Baruch Lederman

Rabbi Baruch Lederman

Rabbi Baruch Lederman

SAN DIEGO — The Medrash tells us about the wicked king, Yerovom ben Nevat, who began his career as a righteous king but turned evil.  Hashem had ordained him to split from the Kingdom of Judah, and form a separate kingdom called Kingdom of Israel of which he would be the leader. At first, King Yerovom was pious. But when he realized that soon he would have go to Jerusalem to join in unison with the entire nation, things turned sour.

The Halacha dictates that in the courtyard of the Holy Temple, only descendants of King David may sit.  Thus Yerovom realized that he would have to stand in the presence of the Rechavam the son of Shlomo a descendant of King David.  Rechavom would be the only one of the two allowed to sit in the courtyard of the Beis Hamikdosh.  That was too much to bear and so, Yerovom decided to build his own Temple, in his own kingdom with idols formed as golden calves.  He then prohibited the Jews of his Kingdom to go the Temple in Jerusalem.

Hashem was very upset at Yerovom, but the Almighty felt that he invested too much in him and pleaded for him to return back to his piety. The Medrash tells us Hashem told him “repent and I and You and the son of Yishai (King David), will stroll together in Gan Eden.”

Yeruvom then asked, “Who will walk first?” (He either didn’t take note as Hashem listed his name before King David, or perhaps his haughtiness provoked him to ask Hashem to repeat it as he wanted to hear it again – Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz).

To that, Hashem responded, “King David will go first.”

Commentators explain that because Yerovom asked “who goes first?”  He thus lost the original right to walk first.  Yerovom then responded, “If that is the case, I will not repent.”

And indeed he did not. And to this day Yerovom ben Nivot represents the epitome of evil.
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The foregoing is adapted from Parsha Parables by Rabbi Mordechai Kamentzky.  Rabbi Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah in San Diego.  Your signed comment may be posted in the space below or sent to [email protected]

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