The Royal Wedding

Friday, 25 May, 2018 - 6:01 pm

Did you watch the wedding? (not live of course, it was on Shabbat:))

Apparently, we are enamored by the royal family. Millions of well-wishers tuned in to celebrate with Prince Harry and Meghan last week.

It’s not easy being a Royal. There are all sorts of "rules" or protocols to be followed. Constantly in the public eye, every word or action must be fitting for royalty. 

Prince Harry struggled with this for a while, but eventually came to appreciate that being royal is a privilege not a burden. In order to be Royal, one must act royally.

As Jews we can relate, for we are also Royals. As G-d says in the Torah “And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation”. 

Like the Royals, there’s plenty of protocol, we have many rules (613 to be precise).  And like I once heard from a media personality "Jews are news", we are constantly under public scrutiny and must therefore ensure that every word or action is fitting for the name that we carry as Jews. Finally, like Prince Harry we can choose to see Royal life, and the rules that come along with it, as restrictive or a privilege.

Now, I realize that I may have just offended many of my readers. Most Jews cringe at the notion of being called royalty or the "chosen nation". We find it arrogant and hate-inducing.

Yet, at the same time, we are perfectly comfortable with the Royal family. Not only are we not bothered, we are enamored by them and wish them well. When Prince Harry and Meghan left the Chapel in the Royal carriage, not one of the media commentators recoiled in disgust or referred to them as arrogant. But tell a Jew that he is royalty, and he responds, “no, no, G-d forbid! I’m just like everyone else!”

Perhaps this is because we misunderstand what it means to be royal or the “chosen nation”. 

It doesn't mean you are greater than others, but rather that you have a greater responsibility.

Prince Harry, not by virtue of anything he did, was born to certain parents and as a result represents the Crown and the British people and is called on to behave accordingly. Embracing his role as a Royal is not a sign of arrogance but rather of humility!

A Jew is not better than anyone else. But he is a descendant of Abraham and Sarah, and as a result represents the Jewish people and G-d. We are royal, not because of anything we have done, but simply because of who we were born to. As with Prince Harry, embracing our royalty, by living up to the standards of the Torah and being a “light unto the nations”, stems from humility not arrogance.

The nations of the world will not hate us for behaving in a Royal manner, they actually expect it from us.   They hold us to a higher standard and rightfully so.

Prince Harry matured and now embraces his role as a Royal. It is time for us to do the same!  

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Benjy Silverman

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