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29****Shmuel (Samuel) The Prophet

Shmuel (Samuel) The Prophet

Born: Ramatayim Tzofim, Eretz Yisrael, 835 BC 
Died: Ramah,                  Eretz Yisrael, 887 BC

Shmuel The Prophet was the last judge of Israel before the Kingdom. He was instructed by God to anoint Shaul as the first king of Israel, and later on anointed King David as his successor.

Shmuel is considered the "Father of all prophets", second only to Moshe Rabeinu and Aharon HaCohen. According to the Ari (Rabbi Itzchak Luria), Shmuel's soul level of Nefesh originates from
Cayin son of Adam. Shmuel also attained by ibbur, the souls of Nadav & Avihu sons of Aharon HaCohen. (Sha'ar HaGilgulim, hakdama 32) Shmuel's soul returned again as Aviyahthe son of King Yerovam. (Sha'ar HaGilgulim, hakdama 33).

In recent history Rabbi Shmuel Shmelke of Nikolsburg (1726-1778), student of the Maggid of Mezritch, was considered to have a spark of soul from Shmuel The Prophet.


There was not a day that Chana was not confronted with her barrenness. She sat silently at the table, the tears welling in her eyes, observing the lively tumult about her and the obvious pleasure Penina took in tending to her children, and she could not eat. Elkana, sensing her agony, served her the choicest portion, handing it to her lovingly, but it remained untouched. Each year, Elkana and his family traveled to Shilo. Along the way, they stopped, and Chana and Elkana encouraged others to join them in their pilgrimage. Each year they took a different route, exhorting everyone they met to come along, until eventually, entire villages from all over the land of Israel journeyed with them to sacrifice and give thanks to God in Shilo.

It was autumn, they were in Shilo again. Elkana called his family together to share with them the sacrifice. As always, the best went to Chana. And she alone took no part in the joyous celebration. Gently, Elkana said to her: "Chana, why do you cry? Why is your heart saddened today? Does not my love mean more to you than the love of ten children? "But the days when that love could have contented her were long past. In her mind, she saw only Penina, who made even the most mundane aspects of motherhood seem sublime. So, when everyone had finished the meal, she returned to the House of God, and standing before the Ark, she prayed. "God, you have created everything in this world for a reason. You have given me eyes to see, ears to hear, a mouth to speak. Why have You given me a womb, if not to carry a child? "Look at all the hundreds of people I have gathered to stand before you here. Shall I not have even one to call my own? Look at my despair, and give me a child, like other children, a happy child, a healthy child. No more do I ask for myself. But if it be Your will, then send me a child who will be a great leader, a sage and a holy man, as were Moshe and Aharon, and I will dedicate his life to You." For what seemed like an eternity, she stood before the wall, her body shaking and racked with tears, her lips moving but her voice hardly more than a whisper.

In those days, prayers and supplications were said aloud, and Eli, the high priest, was suspicious of her behavior. "Woman, are you drunk?" he called. "Go away from here, for it is improper to stand before God in a state of intoxication. "No," she answered, "I have poured myself no wine today. It is my heart that I have poured out before God in my anguish. "Then go in peace," Eli replied, "and may God grant you your prayer." So they returned home.

That year, Chana bore a son, and she named him Shmuel. When Shmuel was two, she took him with her to Shilo. She stood before Eli and said, "I am the woman who prayed to God in my sorrow. Beside me is my son, the answer to that prayer. And now may he be given into the service of God for the rest of his life. "And she sang a song of thanks to God, she returned home, and Shmuel remained with Eli in the House of God. Though she visited him again each year, from that day on he was no longer only hers. She sacrificed her son to God, as Avraham Avinu had done before her. She sacrificed him not on an altar of stone, but on the altar of her heart, and her sacrifice was forever. She had other children later, two more sons and two daughters, but we know her only as the mother of Shmuel the Prophet, the son she gave away.

May the merit of the tzaddik Shmuel HaNavieprotect us all, Amen.

Before Eli's sun set, the sun of Shmuel of Ramah had risen (Kiddushin 72b).

A Heavenly Voice rang throughout the world, saying, "A righteous man named Shmuel is about to rise." Thereafter, every woman who gave birth to a son called him Shmuel, but when the people saw his deeds, they would say, "This is not Shmuel." After this Shmuel was born and they saw his deeds, they said, "It seems he is the one" 
(Yalkut Shimoni, Shmuel 78).

Samuel was born circumcised
(Avos d'Rabbi Nosson 2:5).

Samuel was a Nazirite
(Nazir  66a).

The righteous Samuel feared the judgment of the World to Come
(Chagigah 4b).

Samuel called himself a servant of God, but the Holy One, Blessed is He, did not call him by that title
(Sifri Va'etchanan 27).

Samuel was very wealthy
(Yalkut Shimoni, Shmuel 111).

In every generation there is someone like Samuel
(Bereishit Rabbah 56:7).

One who does not wish to accept assistance from others need not do so and this is not considered to be arrogant behavior (Rashi), like Samuel of Ramah, of whom it is written, His house was there
(l Samuel 7:17) (there refers to all the places he visited (Rashi). Wherever he went, he took along his house (i.e., a tent and all his housewares (ibid.) (Berachot 10b).

Samuel took nothing from the community. He did not even drink from the public reservoir
(Midrash HaGadol, Bamidbar 16:15).

Samuel said to all of Israel, "Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken? (Samuel I, 12:1-3). When I sacrificed an ox on your behalf and I was praying for you or anointing a king for you, it was mine; I did not take yours. And when I made the rounds to judge your cases and tend to your needs, I took my own donkey:
(Bamidbar Rabbah 18:10).

After the first prophets died, the Urim VeTumim ceased functioning, who were the first prophets? David, Samuel, and Solomon
(Sotah 48a,b).

All the prophets were wealthy, as we know from the case of Shmuel
(Nedarim 38a).

Even Shmuel, the head of all the prophets, did not know what he was prophesying when he prophesied
(Yalkut HaMechiri, Yeshayahu 8:18).

Shaul the king and his servant asked, "Is the seer Shmuel here?" They said, "He is, behold, he is before you"
(Samuel I 9:11,12). They were saying, "Do you not see a cloud hovering over his courtyard?" (The expression refers to a cloud representing God's Presence), as it is written, Sometimes the cloud was on the Tabernacle a few days (Numbers 9:20) (Pesikta d' Rav Kahana 4:154).

All the other prophets prophesied only during their lifetimes. Shmuel prophesied in his lifetime and after his death
(see Samuel I 28:19) (Pirkei d' Rabbi Eliezer 33).

When the people of Israel saw the cloud suspended between heaven and earth, they knew that God was speaking with Moses. So it was also with Samuel
(Sifri Zuta, Bamidbar 12:5).

Although Shmuel was a prophet, he did not know anything concerning the future until the Holy One, Blessed is He, revealed it to him
(Shocher Tov 119:9).

When speaking of Shmuel, we cannot ignore his righteous mother
Chana. The following is her story from the Book of Shmuel with additions from the Midrash.

The story of Chana is a story of devotion and of love, of service and of sacrifice. It is the story of the woman who taught the world what it means to pray--that one prays not with one's lips, but from one's heart. "Marry another woman that you may have children," Chana said to her husband, Elkana. "And when God sees my pain, perhaps I, too will be given a child." So, Elkana took a second wife, Penina. And she bore many children, but Chana had none. With time, Chana might have resigned herself to her state, and found solace in her loving husband and her service of God. But Penina knew of the longing that burned deep within Chana and resolved that longing not be extinguished. And so, Penina tormented her endlessly. In the morning, Penina rose early to prepare her children for school. "Chana," she called, "Why are you not up yet? Don't you have to wash and dress your children?" At noon, Penina stood at the door, awaiting her children's return. "Chana, aren't you going to come too, to welcome your children home? "At dinner, when Elkana served the main course, Penina once again called attention to her young.

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