Horayot 10 - The King and the Commoner

If an anointed priest has sinned and then left his position, and similarly, if a leader has sinned and then left his position of greatness, they still bring the sacrifices corresponding to their previous level: the priest brings a bull and the leader - a he-goat.

The High Priest is removed from his position if he develops a physical blemish that makes his service invalid. A leader is removed if he develops a sickness of tzaraat - spiritual leprosy - or if he is deposed.

Who is that leader that the Torah describes as "Prince, or Nasi," to whom the above laws are applicable? That is the king, as the Torah describes him, "one who has no superior except God."

The king is a servant of the people, as we see from the following story. Rabban Gamliel and Rabbi Yehoshua were traveling together on a ship, Rabban Gamliel had bread, and Rabbi Yehoshua had bread and flour. When Rabban Gamliel ran out of bread, he was sustained by Rabbi Yehoshua's flour. Said he to Rabbi Yehoshua, "Why were you so provident?" Rabbi Yehoshua replied that there is a star that misleads sailors, and it shows once in 70 years. "If you are so smart," - said Rabban Gamliel - "Why do you have to travel on business?" Rabbi Yehoshua replied, "Before you help me, help your two students, Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Yochanan, who know how to count every drop in the sea, but don't have bread. Rabban Gamliel wanted to appoint them heads of Yeshiva, but they did not want to. So he told them, "Don't think that I am making you rulers, rather, I am making you servants."

Art: Emil Carlsen - Moonlilt Seascape