Eretz Yisrael Time

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Thursday, March 17, 2011
And Isabel his wife said to him, now you will have kingdom over Israel, arise, eat bread and satiate your heart and I will give you the vineyard of Navot the Jezreelite. And she wrote decrees in the name of Achav and she signed them with his seal and she sent the decrees to the elders and to the Horim in his city, who dwelled with Navot. And she wrote in the decrees, declare a fast and seat Navot at the head of the people.
(Kings II, 21:7-9)

And he sent royal decrees to all the states of the king, each state in its form of writing and each nation in its language, so that every man would rule in his home and speak the language of his nation.
(The Scroll of Esther 1:22)

What do the decrees of Isabel and Ahashverosh have in common? In both cases, they are an attempt to squelch justified disobedience. In both cases, the decrees are based on "the law."

Navot the Jezreelite is unwilling to sell his family inheritance. Vashti is unwilling to embarrass herself in public. In the face of disobedience that is obviously just, all that a king can use is the most corrupt of tools: The rule of law.

It is impossible to miss the similarity in style. They make laws, sign them with the royal seal and send them throughout the kingdom. It is reminiscent of the Evacuation/Compensation law, enacted with careful attention to the letter of the law. This was not a criminal act, heaven forbid. It was the product of an orderly legislative process that encompasses everyone!

When the assassination plot of Bigtan and Teresh is exposed, there is no need for all this. Everyone understands that they will receive the death penalty. But when justice is not with the king, he can always pull the "rule of law" act out of his hat.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Purim,
Moshe Feiglin

1 comments:

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