1 KINGS 8:1

“Then Shlomo convoked the elders of Yisrael—all the heads of the tribes and the ancestral chieftains of the Israelites—before King Shlomo in Yerushalayim, to bring up the Aron Brit Hashem from the City of David, that is, Tzion.” (1 KINGS 8:1)

The Hebrew term for ‘ancestral cheiftains’ is n’see-ay ha’avot (נשיאי האבות). N’see-ay is a plural form of the word nasi (נשיא), which literally means ‘elevated,’ but is commonly used to mean ‘prince’ as a title of leadership. In modern Hebrew, it is translated as ‘president.’ In 1960, the famed IDF General and biblical archaeologist Yigael Yadin was called to present his archaeological findings to Israeli President Yitzchak Ben-Zvi in the presence of Prime Minister Ben Gurion and other members of Knesset. He writes about the phenomenal presentation, “When my time came to report, I projected a slide of a document and read aloud the first line: ‘Shimon Bar Kosiba, Nasi of Israel.’ And turning the our Head of State, I said, ‘Your Excellency, I am honored to be able to tell you that we have discovered fifteen dispatches by the last President of ancient Israel, 1,800 years ago.’ For a moment the audience seemed struck dumb. Then the silence was shattered with cries of astonishment and joy.” Not only was he a Nasi, ‘president,’ Bar Kosiba (Kokhba) was also the last military leader of ancient Israel. In essence, he “sent” his dispatches to his successor, Yigael Yadin, one of the first generation of Israeli generals in 1,800 years, so that he could turn them over to another Nasi, the modern President of Israel. For all those celebrating President’s Day in the United States, we hope that you have a nice “Yom Nasi” – President’s Day!



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