Based on Melachim/Kings I, 13 and Sanhedrin 102a. Speaker: Rabbi Zvi Aryeh Rosenfeld z”l.
Hashem Himself tried to bring Yeravam ben Navat back to faith in the Torah, out of respect for Yeravam’s great achievements in Torah study. Hashem offered that if Yeravam would repent, he will enjoy a special place in Gan Eden (Paradise) where he will walk together with Hashem and Dovid HaMelech (King David). Yeravam then asked Hashem “Who will go first?” When he is told that Dovid HaMelech will go first, Yeravam rejected the offer. Why? This incident illustrates about difference between teshuvah (return to faith in Hashem and His Torah) out of love vs. for reward. It also teaches what kind of a Baal Teshuvah can “stand where a tzaddik cannot stand”?
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