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What is the origin of the phrase “David melech yisrael chai vikayam"?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

  

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Rabbi Marcus: The phrase is found in the Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 25a). The Talmud records it as part of a message from Rabbi Yehudah the Prince (2nd century sage and editor of the Mishnah) to Rabbi Chiya, in which he instructed the latter to proclaim the new month in the Galilee. Rashi explains that the connection between the new month and David is that like the moon David’s reign undergoes periods of concealment (like now) but ultimately triumphs, like the moon’s reappearance each month.

To emphasize that his instruction should not be construed as a slight to the Davidic dynasty—whose home was Judah—Rabbi Yehudah added the phrase, “David melech yisrael chai vikayam” to his instruction, reiterating his allegiance to David’s kingdom.
Others offer a more intricate explanation of the connection: The instruction to proclaim the new month in the Galilee was a change from the norm, which was to proclaim the new the month in Judah, in Jerusalem. To emphasize that his instruction should not be construed as a slight to the Davidic dynasty—whose home was Judah—Rabbi Yehudah added the phrase, “David melech Yisrael chai vikayam” to his instruction, reiterating his allegiance to David’s kingdom.

(The reason Rabbi Yehudah wanted the month proclaimed in the Galilee was because that was where the sages of Israel were gathered.)



Source: Iyun Tefilah in Otzar Hatefilot

TAGS: david, king david

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Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year. An early autumn two day holiday marking the creation of Adam and Eve. On this day we hear the blasts of the ram's horn and accept G-d's sovereignty upon ourselves and the world. On Rosh Hashanah we pray that G-d should grant us all a sweet New Year.
Rashi
Acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105). Legendary French scholar who authored the fundemental and widely accepted "Rashi commentary" on the entire Bible and Talmud.
Jerusalem
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
Judah
1. The fourth son of Jacob and Leah. He was blessed by Jacob to be the leader of the tribes. Consequently, the Davidic royal dynasty is from the tribe of Judah. 2. The southern part of Israel which was occupied by the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and always remained under the reign of the kings from the tribe of Judah.
David
King of Israel who succeeded Saul, becoming king of Israel in 876 BCE. Originally a shepherd, he became popular after he killed the Philistine strongman, Goliath. He is the progenitor of the Davidic royal dynasty -- which will return to the throne with the arrival of King Messiah.
Mishnah
First written rendition of the Oral Law which G-d spoke to Moses. Rabbi Judah the Prince compiled the Mishna in the 2nd century lest the Oral law be forgotten due to the hardships of the Jewish exiles.
Yisrael
1. Additional name given by G-d to Patriarch Jacob. 2. A Jew who is not a Kohain or Levi (descendant of the Tribe of Levi).