King Solomon's Brilliant Verdict for the Ages
by Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski
Published in the Algemeiner Journal, January 16, 2004
Israel's greatest king, Solomon, was only twelve years old when G-d promised him that he would be granted wisdom, and that he would be the wisest man that ever lived. In the very first recorded decision in the history of legal jurisprudence, in the Book of Books (Kings 3:16), we read about Solomon's brilliance and how it endeared him at such a tender age to the entire nation of Israel, who willingly accepted him as their monarch.
Two women came before King Solomon.
One woman (the true mother) said, "My lord, this woman and I dwell in the same house and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. On the third day after I gave birth she also gave birth… This woman's child died during the night because she lay on him. She arose during the night and took my son from my side while I slept, laid him on her bosom and laid her dead child on my bosom. When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, behold, he was dead! But when I observed him in the morning, I realized that he was not my son to whom I had given birth."
The other woman replied, "It is not so! My son is the live one and your son is the dead one."
King Solomon briefly reiterated their arguments and ordered, "Bring me a sword." The King then said, "Cut the living child in two, and give half to one and half to the other."
The woman who claimed that her son was stolen from her said, "Please, my lord, give her the living child and do not kill it."
But the other woman said, "Neither mine nor yours shall he be. Cut!"
The king spoke up and said, "Give the first woman the living child and do not kill it; for she is his mother."
Reportedly, in the summer of 2000, at Camp David, Yasser Arafat recited to former President Clinton this classical Biblical story, arguing that the very fact that Israel was willing to divide, to compromise and to negotiate on every point, including Jerusalem, while the Arabs were absolutely unyielding and uncompromising, proved that the Israelis were not the true 'mothers'.
Granted, it is possible that King Solomon in his divinely inspired wisdom was thinking of the widely celebrated and the internationally acclaimed dispute over the Holy Land, where the two mothers, the Jews and the Arabs, are arguing over the same piece of land. It is fascinating to note that this case is the one and only example the Bible gives us of King Solomon's legendary brilliance.
Not surprisingly, however, Arafat completely missed the point of the story. The issue is not who agrees to cut the baby, but who cares about the baby. It's all about life; the true mother wants the baby to live, while the false mother would gladly see the baby die.
Following in King Solomon's footsteps, the international community has been unanimous in its decision to bring on the sword, to cut the baby in half and to divide the Holy Land. Consequently, just as in the original episode, everyone's true color has emerged for all to see.
The true mother, the Jewish people who love the land, who have a soul connection to the land, who for millennia prayed and continue to pray three times a day, "Please G-d return me to the land," have relinquished their just claim. For the sake of peace, Jews are ready to make painful concessions. Give the baby away rather than hurt the child, they cry out. The most mindless, radical Jewish left-wing fanatics, who follow in the footsteps of Neville Chamberlain, believing in "peace at any price," are ready to sacrifice their very own home, so that the land of Israel will flourish and its inhabitants will live in peace and tranquility.
The false mother, however, who never wanted the baby in the first place, and only wanted to deprive the real mother of her legitimate child, cruelly declared: "If I won't get the baby than kill the baby." The Arabs say that if they don't get Jerusalem and the Jews refuse to unconditionally surrender to them, they will destroy the land, maim and murder its inhabitants and strangle Israel's economy. Has anyone forgotten the searing images during the Gulf War, how the Arab settlers in Arab-occupied Ramallah danced on the roof tops encouraging their hero, Sadaam Hussein, to rain missiles on Israel and to destroy the entire land?
The verdict is in by the most brilliant legal mind that ever lived. The Jewish people are the real mothers; Israel is their baby and the land is exclusively Jewish. Even when they were forcibly exiled from their land by their oppressors, the Jewish soul never went into exile and the Jewish people never ceased yearning for Israel. "Next Year in Jerusalem!" they cried out, as they physically turned their faces towards Jerusalem each and every time they prayed.
The Arabs, however, have no connection to the land. They are usurpers who have, by and large, migrated to Israel over the past 100 years because of economic opportunities made possible by the Jews. Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran, while it is mentioned close to a thousand times in the Bible. When Islam was born 1,600 years ago in Mecca and Medina, the Jewish people had already been in the land of Israel for close to two thousand years, and went through two Temples, two Commonwealths.
The classical Biblical commentaries are puzzled. Why was King Solomon so confident that the false mother would reveal her treachery by agreeing to literally cut the baby in half? After all, wouldn't human compassion have compelled her to spare the baby, to have mercy on the child and forego her claim so the baby could live?
The commentators explain that mothers throughout the world naturally love their children more dearly than life itself, and would not let harm befall their children. A person has enough presence of mind to not harm himself even in his sleep. Surely, a mother couldn't harm her newborn baby, even in her sleep. It's a fact that billions of mothers sleep with their infants without crushing them. Crushing her own baby to death, proved that, as the exception to the rule, she was sorely lacking in motherly instincts and was inclined towards cruelty.
There's another puzzling mystery. When the real mother agreed to give up her baby why didn't the lying mother accept the offer, why did she insist that the baby be cut in half? After all, didn't she kidnap the baby in the first place because she wanted to have a baby?
King Solomon, in his brilliance, realized that she stole the baby not out of love for the child, but out of jealousy for the real mother. Surely, if she had no love for her own child and was able to smother her own baby to death, she wouldn't care about a stranger's child. It was a purely vindictive act to deprive the real mother of her child. Consequently, killing the baby by cutting the baby in half, thereby depriving the true mother of her baby, would suit her just fine.
Arab mothers who send their own children to die, and who celebrate their horrific murderous deaths and suicide missions as martyrdom, give the Arabs away as the true thieves, murderers and occupiers.
While the true mother, Israel, agreed to give the land away for the chance of peace, the Arabs prefer to have the baby killed. In response to Jewish overtures for peace, the Arabs unleashed the most vicious and murderous suicide attacks, unprecedented in human history, against innocent men, women, children and babies, attempting in vain to destroy beautiful Israel.
King Solomon, speaking across generations, is addressing our situation today in this landmark, internationally acclaimed verdict. King Solomon is clearly stating that there are definite and clear distinctions: While one mother is telling the truth, is kindhearted, compassionate, an ideal mother, the other mother is a cruel, stone-hearted kidnapper, a liar and a would-be murderer to boot.
In the end, truth and justice will prevail, even in the world of smoke and mirrors, multiculturalism, pluralism and political correctness that we currently inhabit. The true mother has been exposed for all to see. Every lover of truth knows now beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Holy Land of Israel in its entirety belongs exclusively to its true mother, the Jewish people, forever and ever; never to be divided, never to be separated from the house of Israel.