Parashat Mikeitz (from the end) Genesis 41:1-44:17
Haftarah: I Kings 7:40-50
This week there is a special reading from the prophets because the last day of Chanukah falls on a Shabbat. Chanukah celebrates the victory over Antiochus and his army. This victory allowed the Priests to cleanse the Temple (Second Temple) and reestablish the worship of the G-d of Israel there. In the prophetic reading one learns that the king of Tyre assisted King Solomon in building the Temple (First Temple). One reads that he made the lavers, the shovels and the bowels which were used for the worship there. It is significant that a non-Jew was allowed to do this work. It serves to remind the reader that the Temple in Jerusalem was for all people.
King Hiram was a man of faith that believed that one day a great multitude of people would be worshipping in Jerusalem. This is seen in the fact that it is said,
“Solomon set all the vessels (aside) from the great abundance, it could not be determined the weight of the copper (used).” I Kings 7:47
Hiram’s faith was seen not only in the great number of vessels he made in order to accommodate the vast numbers of people that he believed would turn to HaShem and worship Him, but also in the large sum of money he donated to purchase the copper which was needed to make these vessels. Faith and generosity usually go hand in hand. Why is this? This is because faith causes one to emphasize the things pertaining to the Kingdom and not the things of this world. Hiram recognized that holding on to his great wealth or spending it on pursuits of his flesh would bear no dividends in the age to come. Therefore he utilized it for something connected to the worship of the G-d of Israel in which he could participate during his lifetime. Hiram was wise enough to see this opportunity and respond in faith rather than hold on to his wealth.
In fact one reads in chapter 9 of First Kings that during the twenty years that Solomon built the Temple and the King’s palace that Hiram supplied him with cedar trees and cypress trees and gold as much as Solomon desired. Solomon sent, not as a payment, but a token of his gratitude, wheat and oil to Hiram. We are also told that Hiram received cities in the Galilee from Solomon. This is most significant because “land” in the Bible is related to promise. Hence Hiram because he exercised faith in G-d became a recipient of the promises of G-d.
Through the eyes of faith one can discern the spiritual opportunities that HaShem sets before a person. The only thing which is often lacking is our response. May you and I be like Hiram and not like those who hold on to wealth because their eyes are on the things of this world and not on the Kingdom.
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