Long live the politician!

Tzvi Ilan ben Gita Update: Great progress! He is awake and aware, though not talking yet. He has been moved to the Rehab Clinic at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NY. He is able to move his body and can even walk with assistance. We’re hoping to see even more progress while in the clinic.

Deuteronomy Hizkuni: Shoftim

Long live the politician!

“The King is Dead. Long Live the King,” is a phrase whose origin is shrouded by the mists of time.  Its usage is noted as far back as 1272 England upon the death of King Henry III and the succession of his son Edward I.

The Bible hints at such thoughts in Deuteronomy 17:20:

“May he (the king) prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel.”

Rabbi Hizkiyahu ben Manoach (Hizkuni) teases out an additional lesson from the verse. Hizkuni explains that once the mantle of leadership is thrust on a king, his aging accelerates. The worries, the responsibilities, the burden of carrying an entire people are so heavy that the king will die faster then he would have otherwise.

For that reason as soon as the old king has died and the new king takes his place, he requires the blessing of “Long Live the King.”

We have seen a similar effect of accelerated aging on modern day presidents, prime ministers, politicians and other people carrying the burdens of the many.

This effect seems to be independent of political views, intelligence or even altruistic tendencies. In any case, we wish that these leaders always do more good than harm and may they have long lives to continue to serve their public. (And the evil, corrupt, damaging and outright inept leaders can go ahead and die at an accelerated rate.)

May the leaders that God sends us be better than what we deserve.

Shabbat Shalom,



To my nephew, Saadya Epstein, on the occasion of his Bar-Mitzvah. We wish him both leadership and a long, healthy life.

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