The president has made clear in remarks to reporters and on social media in recent days that he believes rigid enforcement of social distancing for months, which would prevent most U.S. businesses from operating normally, would be worse than the casualties caused by a protracted halt to the economy.”You can destroy a country this way by closing it down,” Trump said in the Fox News TV program billed as a virtual town hall in the White House Rose Garden, with some questions being asked on video by viewers.”You’re gonna lose a number of people to the flu, but you’re going to lose more people. By putting a country into a massive recession or depression,” according to Trump. “You’re going to lose people, you’re going to have suicides by the thousands, you’re going to have all sorts of things happen. You’re going to have instability. You can’t just come in and say, ‘Let’s close up the United States of America, the biggest, the most successful country in the world by far.'”
The Quote Above Is An Introduction to King David’s Dilemma Risking The Lives of Soldiers Through An Optional War Vs. Saving the Economy
President Trump’s statement in some ways illustrates a dilemma faced by King David. But King David had the advantage of the Sanhedrin and the Urim VeTummim giving approval for his choice.
To quote from the translation and commentary to the Talmud Berakhot 3b and 4a by:
David had a sign indicating when it was midnight. As Rav Aḥa bar Bizna said that Rabbi Shimon Ḥasida said: A lyre hung over David’s bed, and once midnight arrived, the northern midnight wind would come and cause the lyre to play on its own. David would immediately rise from his bed and study Torah until the first rays of dawn.
Once dawn arrived, the Sages of Israel entered to advise him with regard to the various concerns of the nation and the economy. They said to him: Our master, the king, your nation requires sustenance.
He said: Go and sustain one another, provide each other with whatever is lacking.
The Sages of Israel responded to him with a parable: A single handful of food does not satisfy a lion, and a pit will not be filled merely from the rain that falls directly into its mouth, but other water must be piped in (ge’onim). So too, the nation cannot sustain itself using its own resources.
King David told them: Go and take up arms with the troops in battle in order to expand our borders and provide our people with the opportunity to earn a livelihood.
The Sages immediately seek advice from Ahitophel to determine whether or not it was appropriate to go to war at that time and how they should conduct themselves, and they consult the Sanhedrin in order to receive the requisite license to wage a war under those circumstances (Tosefot HaRosh). And they ask the Urim VeTummim whether or not they should go to war, and whether or not they would be successful.
Rav Yosef said: Upon what verse is this aggada based? As it is written: “And after Ahitophel was Yehoyada son of Benayahu and Evyatar, and the general of the king’s army, Yoav” (I Chronicles 27:34).
The individuals named in this verse correspond with the roles in the aggada as follows: Ahitophel is the adviser whose advice they sought first with regard to going to war, and so it says: “Now the counsel of Ahitophel, which he counseled in those days, was as a man who inquires of the word of God; so was the counsel of Ahitophel both with David and with Absalom” (II Samuel 16:23).
Benayahu ben Yehoyada corresponds to the Sanhedrin, since he was the head of the Sanhedrin, and Evyatar corresponds to the Urim VeTummim, as Evyatar ben Ahimelekh the priest would oversee inquiries directed to the Urim VeTummim (see I Samuel 23:9).
And so it says regarding Benayahu ben Yehoyada’s position as head of the Sanhedrin: “And Benayahu ben Yehoyada was over the Kereti and over the Peleti” (II Samuel 20:23). And why was the Sanhedrin called Kereti UPeleti? It was called Kereti because they were decisive [koretim] in their pronouncements. It was called Peleti because their pronouncements and wisdom were wondrous [mufla’im]. The head of the Kereti UPeleti was the head of the Sanhedrin. According to the order of the verse, upon being instructed by King David to go to war, the Sages first consulted with Ahitophel, then with the Sanhedrin, then they would ask the Urim VeTummim, and only thereafter was the general of the king’s army, Yoav, given the command to ready the military for battle.