1 And it took Shlomo thirteen years to build his palace, until his whole palace was completed.
v’-et bay-TO ba-NAH sh’-lo-MO sh’-LOSH es-RAY sha-NAH vai-KHAL et kol bay-TO
א וְאֶת־בֵּיתוֹ בָּנָה שְׁלֹמֹה שְׁלֹשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה וַיְכַל אֶת־כָּל־בֵּיתוֹ׃
7:1 And it took Shlomo thirteen years to build his palace
Rashi notes that King Shlomo is praised for working much quicker to build the Beit Hamikdash than his own palace. Yet, on the surface, the descriptions of the opulence of his palace seem far from spiritual and out of place. In truth, however, this description communicates an eternal religious value. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook teaches that just as a poor, depressed person often has a difficult time serving Hashem due to his need to focus on daily survival, an impoverished nation will also have a difficult time serving God. King Shlomo, who dwelled in a magnificent palace, represents the nation he rules; under his reign, Israel attains the highest levels of physical and financial power, and is thus also able to attain the highest spiritual levels. We are fortunate to see a glimpse of this today, as the modern State of Israel has miraculously grown from a poor nation to a country with a strong, vibrant economy that can sustain its people both physically and spiritually.