In the Haftarah for the second day of Sukkot, King Solomon holds a big feast for all the men of Israel as they dedicate the Beit Hamikdash. First, the priests of Israel carried up the Ark. Next, the priests and Levites brought the tent of meeting. While they were doing this, King Solomon and the rest of the Israelites were bringing lots of sacrifices to the Ark. King Solomon announced:
“The LORD has chosen to abide in a thick cloud: I have now built for You A stately House, A place where You May dwell forever.”
With all of Israel standing, the King explained that his father David had intended to build the Temple, but God had chosen David just to lead the people. God had said that David was not the right person to build the temple; instead, God said that Solomon should build the temple and he did.
When I read this part of the Haftarah, I wondered: why couldn’t David build the Beit Hamikdash? After all, he was a great king and a strong warrior. David was a King chosen by God, whereas Solomon just happened to be his son. David even wrote the Psalms! David was the one
who conquered Jerusalem, which is even called the City of David!! So, if all that is true, then why couldn’t he be the person to build the Beit Hamikdash?!
To learn more about this question, I looked to see what others have said. I found a verse in the book of Chronicles, (I Chronicles 22:6-8)
“You have shed blood abundantly, and have made great wars; you shall not build a house in My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight.”
In this verse God tells David that he cannot build the Beit Hamikdash because he “has blood on his hands”. Why does he have blood on his hands and what does that mean?
David was not a peaceful man. He killed a lot of people. For example, David sent Uriah, the husband of a woman he wanted to marry, to war to kill him! He also killed righteous non-Jews in his wars, Jews during the war between David and King Saul, Jews in unnecessary wars of conquest, and the Kohanim (the priests) in Nov. David was not the right person because he was a
warrior with “blood on his hands”. Instead, God asked King Solomon, King David’s son, who was a peaceful man, to build the Beit Hamikdash.
Today is Sukkot. How do King David and the temple relate to Sukkot? First of all, the Beit Hamikdash was dedicated on Sukkot. Secondly, in the birkat hamazon on Sukkot there is a line: Sukkat David HaNofalet. This means “the fallen Sukkah of David." David did not have a Sukkah so what is that symbolizing? I think it symbolizes the temple. But, as I have been
saying King Solomon is the one who built the temple. I think that this line is giving credit to King David because he made all the plans for the temple. This teaches us that God does not forget the things that we do. Even though David did not build the Temple,
God still remembers everything he did along the way. And every time we do something we need to remember that God notices all the little things we do to contribute to it.
About the Author: Talia is a current 7th grader who had her Bat Mitzvah this year. She loves chicken soup with matza balls! Talia and her family belong to Anshe Emet Synagogue, Anshe B'nai Israel Synagogue, and Chabad Lakeview. Talia loves to go to Camp Chi and Camp Gan Israel in Lakeview in the summer!