This lesson begins with the leadership of the prophet Shmuel (Samuel), the last of the pre-monarchic rulers of Israel, and continues with the narratives of King Shaul (Saul) and King David. It tells the story of a significant period in Israelite history — the transition from charismatic leadership, with leaders appointed at times of need, to an established, dynastic monarchy, politically uniting the Israelites.
Rabbi Yehuda in Sanhedrin 20b tells us that after their 40 years of wandering in the desert, the Hebrews coming into the Land of Israel were required to fulfill three commandments sequentially, each one contingent on the performance of the previous one. They were to anoint a King, annihilate the nation of Amalek and build a Holy Temple. This lesson explores the dramatic story of how each of these commands was fulfilled, and the legacy each has had on the Jewish nation to this day.
The Jewish Story Explained is based on the book Letters to Auntie Fori: 5,000 Years of Jewish History and their Faith by Martin Gilbert.
The Reform Movement view the Jewish tradition as being completely opposed to the death penalty, wheras the OU suggest that given we “live in a society wherein heinous murders regular occur, one may suggest that abolishing capital punishment altogether would be at odds with the wisdom of Yahadut [Judaism].”