When is the Yartzite of David Hamelech?

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7. The Yartzite of David Hamelech:

The Babylonian Talmud[1] states that Dovid Hamelech passed away on Shabbos [towards the time of Mincha[2]]. The Jerusalem Talmud[3] states that Dovid passed away on Shavuos. The Midrash[4] states that in that year Shavuos fell on Shabbos, and Dovid passed away on Shabbos Shavuos. There is thus no contradiction in the sources.[5] This tradition is also recorded in the Poskim[6], and used to justify the custom of reciting Megillas Ruth on Shavuos, and the increase of Tehillim on Shavuos. Others[7] however suggest that it is a dispute in the above sources regarding whether Dovid passed away on Shabbos or on Shavuos, and he did not pass away on Shavuos that fell on Shabbos. This especially applies according to the calendar rule that abstain from establishing Pesach on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, which would then affect that Shavuos cannot fall on Shabbos.[8] However, possibly, in those times when the new month was sanctified based on testimony of the new moon, this rule was not followed.[9]

Which day of Shavuos? Some[10] suggest that in the year that Dovid Hamelech passed away, Shavuos fell on the 7th of Sivan, and hence in today’s set calendar, his Yartzite is on the second day of Shavuos in the Diaspora, and on Isru Chag in Eretz Yisrael.

When was Dovid born? Some[11] say that David was also born on Shavuos.


The passing of Dovid:[12]

Hashem related to Dovid Hamelech that he would pass away on Shabbos, but refused to tell the date of his passing, due to a decree against revealing the date of one’s death before and creation. From that time and onwards Dovid would sit and study Torah on Shabbos throughout the entire Shabbos [to prevent the angel of death from taking his life[13]]. On the Shabbos designated for his passing, the angel of death appeared before him, but could not overpower him due to his constant Torah learning. What did the angel of death do? He went outside and began waving the trees, causing a loud commotion. Dovid got up to see the commotion and began climbing the stairs. One of the steps of the stairs slipped out of place as he was climbing and he caused Dovid to lose his concentration, momentarily stopping his Torah learning. At that very moment the angel snatched his soul, and he died. tripped over a missed stair Story in Gemara Shabbos with the dogs


[1] Shabbos 30a-b

[2] Admur 292:5; Bach 292

[3] Beitza 2:4; Chagiga 2:3, brought in Tosafos Chagiga 17a, regarding that

[4] Midrash Rus Raba 3:2 regarding that Shavuos fell on Shabbos

[5] Rashal, brought in Seder Hadoros 2924; Likkutei Sichos 8:21

[6] Shaareiy Teshuvah 494:2 in name of Bechor Shur p. 221 and Birkeiy Yosef 494:11 regarding Ruth; Moreh Baetzba 226; Moed Lekol Chaiy  8:31; Ben Ish Chaiy  Bamidbar 1:3 regarding increase in Tehillim

[7] Tosafos Chagiga 17a

[8] The reason: As Shavuos is 51 days after Pesach, which is exactly seven weeks later on the next weekday. So if Pesach cannot fall on Friday, Shavuos will never fall on Shabbos.

[9] See Likkutei Sichos 8:21

[10] Shaar Yissachar Chodesh Sivan Chag Habikurim 94

[11] Shaareiy Teshuvah 494:2 in name of Bechor Shur Bava Basra 17a p. 221; Likkutei Sichos 2:260; The Gematria of the last verse in Ruth is equal to the Gematria that Dovid was born on Shavuos. 796וישי הוליד את דוד = 796  בחג השבעות =.

[12] Shabbos 30b

[13] Rashi ibid

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