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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Excerpt from the Brisker Bible (What if King David was a brisker?)

For all those who hold the brisker (and Rav Shach) approach to pikuach nefesh, here is what the brisker version of the Tanach would look like, A guest post from mevaseretzion:

Excerpt from the Brisker Bible. First Samuel, Ch. 17:

(1) Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and they were gathered together at Socoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Socoh and Azeka, in Ephes-dannim…(3) And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side; and there was a valley between them….(21) And Israel and the Philistines put the battle in array, army against army. (22) And David left his baggage in the hand of the keeper of the baggage, and he walked carefully (so as not to endanger his balance) to the army, and came and greeted his brethren. (23) And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the ranks of the Philistines, and he spake according to the same words; and David heard them. (24) And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. (25) And the men of Israel said: ‘Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to taunt Israel is he come up; and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king shall enrich with great riches…(26) And David spoke to the men that stood by him, saying: ‘Wherefore does the king expect a man to kill this Philistine, and take away the taunt from Israel? It is the way of our faith to kneel before such brutish might! Darest a man among us defy the danger of confrontation? This uncircumcised Philistine carries with him sword and spear; the man that attempteth to kill him does great wrong to the L-rd! Now, the Book of our Covenant is clear: ‘and thou shall choose life’! The man that killeth this Philistine will choose death, instead!’ (28) And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke unto this manner, and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said: ‘Dost thou not know of the rest of the word of the L-rd, ‘Thou shalt be afraid of no man’? And does it not also say, ‘And thou shalt inherit the land and settle it’? We must stand strong against the enemies of Israel, and our G-d, L-rd of Hosts!’ (29) And David said: ‘What have I now done? Was it not but a word? You are not clever as I. For see now, there may be such commands. However, they devolve on the camps of Israel as a whole. But, now, see: as an individual man, I may heed not these commands. Rather, must I ensure mine own survival. For see, it is two laws that can be bifarcated: on the one hand, the law pertaining to the nation, which requires the nation to produce men who will fight for the land and G-d; on the other, the law pertaining to each individual man, that he not endanger his own life. Thus, as individual men, we may not confront this uncircumcised one.’ (30) And they turned away one from the other… (31) And when the words were heard which David spoke, they rehearsed them before Saul; and he was taken to him. (32) And David said to Saul: ‘All men’s hearts fail within them. In the ghetto my father taught that we run from danger, that is the path of the righteous. Therefore, I shall not fight for thee.’ (33) And Saul said to David: ‘But thou art able to go against this Philistine. Thou art powered by thy faith in G-d and thy justice and right! Besides, thou art a Shepard, have thou not fought wild animals to save thy flock?’ (34) And David said unto Saul: ‘’Tis true, thy servant is a Shepard; and when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock, (35) I allowed it, so as not to endanger thy servant or the rest of the flock; thy servant believed that if wild animal must come to take his share of the flock, then, if there be no resistance, he will leave after satiating himself. So must we act with the Philistine; if it be G-d’s will that Israel conquer the land, the L-rd of Hosts will lay it at my master’s feet without fight or battle or death or danger.’ (36) And Saul said unto David: ‘Wiser than all men art thou; call to the Israelites to retreat; he who does not shall surely die.’ (37) And David said unto Saul: ‘Who is wise like thee, o king?’ (38) And the children of Israel retreated that day, from between Socoh and Azeka, in Ephes-dannim. (39) But Eliab, eldest brother of David, said: ‘I shall not go! We must fight for our G-d and land!’ (40) And Eliab took his sling in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine…(53) And Eliab said: ‘Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin; but I come to thee in the name of the L-rd of hosts, the G-d of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast taunted!’…(54) And Eliab ran (fearing not the loss of his balance) and stood over the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out…and slew him..(55) And the children of Israel returned, and smote Eliab until he died, for his brazenness towards King Saul and David.