I'm looking for a source about David HaMelech using the 'excuse' of going to the circus/theater as a rebuff to his yetzer hara querying him why he rises at midnight.

  • Would David HaMelech do something contrary to what he wrote in Tehillim (1:1)? See Masecht Avoda Zara (18b): דרש רבי שמעון בן פזי, אשרי האיש אשר לא הלך לטרטיאות ולקרקסיאות של עובדי כוכבים, "ובדרך חטאים לא עמד", זה שלא עמד בקנגיון, "ובמושב לצים לא ישב", שלא ישב בתחבולות. שמא יאמר אדם הואיל ולא הלכתי לטרטיאות ולקרקסיאות ולא עמדתי בקנגיון אלך ואתגרה בשינה תלמוד לומר ובתורתו יהגה יומם ולילה Commented Jul 10 at 14:17

1 Answer 1


אָמַר דָּוִד רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם בְּכָל יוֹם וָיוֹם הָיִיתִי מְחַשֵׁב וְאוֹמֵר לְמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי וּלְבֵית דִּירָה פְּלוֹנִית אֲנִי הוֹלֵךְ, וְהָיוּ רַגְלַי מְבִיאוֹת אוֹתִי לְבָתֵּי כְנֵסִיּוֹת וּלְבָתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת (ויקרא רבה לה:א, ילקוט שמעוני נ"ך תת"צ)

David said: ‘Master of the universe, each and every day, I would calculate and say: I am going to this place and that residence, but my legs would take me to synagogues and study halls.’

This is quoted in multiple places different ways but I think this is the original source. I would assume whoever said "circus" was just giving an example. I just saw this past week the Ben Ish Hai giving different examples not quoted in the Midrash in Od Yosef Hai Drashot Hukat. The circus was started by the Romans in 600 BC, a bit after David's times.

Also regarding David waking up at midnight, there are many sources for that (eg T'hillim 57:9), and I would assume it was just mixing two separate things together.

  • How does this source show that King David used this as a calculated device to overcome the Yetzer Hara? Commented Jul 10 at 15:33
  • 1
    There are different ways to explain the midrash. Thats how the Od Yosef Hai (ibid) and the Hida sefaria.org/Marit_HaAyin_on_Sanhedrin.26b.7 explain it
    – Mordechai
    Commented Jul 10 at 19:54

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