This week, we start the Tehillim for the tenth day of the month. Despite the revolt of his son Absalom, and the defection of his intimate friend and advisor Ahitophel, King David refuses to waiver in his complete faith to G-d, and he ultimately prevails.
‘Pay heed to me and answer me,’ cries King David to Hashem. One can only imagine the genuine fear of you own son revolting against you, trying to kill you, yet King David put his trust firmly in Hashem.
‘My heart shudders within me, and the terrors of death have befallen me. Fear and trembling penetrate me, and I am overcome with horror. Then I said if only I had a wing like a dove I would fly off and find rest!’ We see how our great and righteous former King of Israel is petrified that he may be killed by his own son at any moment. He wishes to flee the company of men and live by himself in complete and utter isolation.
Yet despite his great and very real fears, he ultimately did a quite remarkable thing. According to the midrashim, when his son Absalom died, he repented at the very end, but it wasn’t quite enough, and he fell literally straight in Gehinom. Yet remarkably, despite running for his life from him, King David came into Gehinom, and rescued his son by pulling him out with his peyot and leading him into Gan Eden.
Quite how a person can do this is unfathomable unless you are on the truly great level that he was on. However, the lesson that we learn from this midrash is clear; even the most treacherous act can still be forgiven if one does Teshuva.
As we head into Tammuz and approach the 3 weeks of mourning for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, perhaps we can pray that we will all do a complete Teshuva and return to our Holy city once more, Amen.