As a youngster I was taught about Jeroboam and Rehoboam (1K12:1-24)
When the great king Solomon passed away his son Reheboam ascended the throne. The people pleaded for relief from the heavy taxes levied by the late king to maintain his military and his opulent lifestyle.
Young Rehoboam rejected the counsel of the experienced Elders, foolishly choosing to listen to his brash young friends. His taunting response, “My pinky is thicker than my father’s waste” was the trigger for rebellion against Jeroboam and the house of David. Jeroboam led the ten Northern tribes to form their own kingdom.
The rabbis of old despised Jeroboam not only for splitting the kingdom but also for establishing idolatry to keep the northerners from worshiping in Jerusalem.
A beautiful Aggadah attributed in Tractate Sanhedrin to Rabbi Aba states: The almighty siezed Jeroboam and proposed: “Repent! Then you and I and the son of Jesse – (his descendent) – will stroll together in Eden.”
In the Aggadah, Jeroboam asks “Who will be first? And the Almighty replies, “The son of Jesse.” To which Jeroboam answers “Then I refuse”.
Until I became an Israeli voter awaiting another round of elections, I could not undertand such egotistical megalomania! HAYIM GRANOT Petah Tikva