David, Israel’s most important king, is hailed as a hero: a military genius, musician, long-reigning monarch and psalmist. But he also had many character flaws. And like Moses, also a shepherd, David displays exemplary qualities of leadership: he unites a divided kingdom and builds the “City of David” (Jerusalem) during his reign of forty years. In one of his escapades, he serves as Israel’s champion as a giant-slayer. Ever the lady’s man, he marries two of King Saul’s daughters, succumbs to adultery by the beauty of Bathsheba, and is unable to find true happiness. David is particularly aggrieved by the death of his rebellious son Absalom and never is given the zechut (merit) of building the Lord’s House, the Holy Temple. According to our tradition, however, he is designated by Heaven as the progenitor of the Messiah, an honor shared through the grace of his grandmother, Ruth. Drawing on Midrash, Talmudic tales, and excerpts of Bible text, this character study of King David (1040-979 CE) will serve as the focus of our discussion. Instructor: Marden Paru; fee $60.