The Tzemach Tzedek, the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, wrote a book called Derech Mitzvoisecho, which means the way of Your commandments. In it, he explores numerous Mitzvot — commandments of the Torah, with Chassidic insights.
One of the Mitzvot is: appointing a king. Here follows a condensed version.
1. The king is subservient to G-d. So when people are subservient to the king, this facilitates being subservient to G-d.
2. The king ensures that there is law and order.
Question (1): The above reasons apply for simple folk. But why would learned Rabbis need a king?
Suggested Answer (1): Indeed, according to the above, a king is not necessary for learned Rabbis.
King David merited to have kingship for himself and his descendants.
Question (2): What was special about King David? In what way did he excel more than other kings?
Answer (2): King David was a shepherd. A shepherd is careful to care for his sheep according to each one’s individual needs. As king, he gave his people physical and spiritual sustenance.
King David’s mother was supposed to have miscarried; however Adam (the first man) gave 70 years of his own life to David. And the Zohar (Kabbalah) says, Abraham, Jacob and Joseph gave (all together) 70 years of their lives to David. (Abraham gave 5 years, Jacob gave 28, and Joseph gave 37.)
Question (3): If Adam gave David 70 years, and Abraham Jacob and Joseph gave David 70 years, then why did David live only 70 years? He should have lived 140 years.
Answer (3): (This answer develops over the next 14 paragraphs)
(There are four worlds, Atzilus, Briya, Yetzira, Asiyah. In Atzlilus, the highest world, G-dliness is very revealed. The G-dliness is then contracted and concealed, as it interacts with the next world (Briyah), and so on, until Asiyah, which is our world.)
Adam, the first man, had a soul from wisdom of Atzilus. (There are ten general emanations of G-dliness in each world: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, kindness, severity, splendour, victory, acknowledgement, foundation, kingship.)
David’s source was from G-d’s word (which gives life to all the worlds).
Speech (words) is included in wisdom.
When a person is deep in thought, at that moment they are aren’t able to speak.
So David was supposed to be a miscarriage. (Speech which is ‘lost’ in wisdom.)
In order to bring David (speech) out of Adam (wisdom), a supernal force shined (from Keter — Crown).
When a person is lost in thought, and suddenly lofty ideas are revealed to him, he can’t help but start talking about it.
Similarly, the supernal revelation brought David (speech) out of Adam (wisdom).
Thus David was given 70 years from Adam. (7 spiritual emotions, each composed of 10 attributes, which brought the supernal wisdom into speech.)
However, David’s kingdom was based on kindness, as he gave the people what each one needed.
There are 5 basic kindnesses.
Abraham represents the attribute of kindness.
So the 5 kindnesses (or 5 years) were given from Abraham to David.
Question (4): Why did Adam’s and Abraham’s contributions cause them to live less? When one candle lights another, the first candle still has its light.
Answer (4): This giving (by Adam and Abraham) involved a strong giving and descending (from Adam and Abraham to David), since David needed to look after every detail of his people. So in order for the emanations from Adam and Abraham to come down into such a much lower level, it needed to depart completely from the higher level. It’s like a candle that can stay in its place and light up some of the room; but when one needs to light up a further area, then it’s necessary to move the candle there.
Isaac is the attribute of severity, or strict judgement, So he didn’t need to give to David, since kingship automatically includes the attribute of judgement.
Jacob gave David 28 years. If you take Aleph, Daled, Nun, Yud (which is one of G-d’s names, and which also denotes lordship or master), and you twice count the letters which compose each letter (Aleph is composed of four letters: Aleph, Lamed, Yud, Fey; Daled is composed of four letters; Nun is composed of three letters, Yud is composed of three letters), you get 28 letters. This symbolizes that Jacob gave the quality of lordship to David’s kingship.
Joseph gave 37: 30 includes the 10 attributes three times, and 7 symbolizes the seven emotions.
Question (5): Adam gave David wisdom. So why did Joseph also need to give David wisdom? (Wisdom is the first of the ten attributes.)
Answer (5): Because Adam gave a higher level of wisdom, whereas Joseph, who was a ruler, gave a lower wisdom (which was needed, in order to know what to give each individual exactly, according to each individual’s needs).
Question (6): Why will Moshiach need to be a king? It will be an era when all Jews will be wise, and the entire world will be filled with knowledge of G-d. So why will Moshiach need to be a king?
Question (7): In answer (1) we suggested that a king is not necessary for the learned Rabbis. But the Mitzvah (commandment) of appointing a king is a Mitzvah for all Jews, including learned Rabbis.
Answer (6,7): Learned Rabbis also need a king for a higher purpose, a higher level of kingship.
Because Moshiach will be from a level that is higher than Adam (wisdom of Atzilus). Moshiach will receive from above wisdom of Atzilus, namely from the infinite light of G-d. Moshiach will teach hidden insights of the Torah, but he will himself grasp revelations of Torah that are much higher. So Moshiach will be a Rabbi teaching insights. But also (due to the higher revelations) he will be a king, and everyone will accept his rulership and listen to him (because of the higher revelations that will be revealed only to him).