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LONG LIVE THE GRACIOUS QUEEN

Wednesday, 26 June, 2019 - 7:35 pm

The immediate images of her that come to mind, that saturate newspapers, magazines, television and what have you, is marching bands, swirling horses, jewels galore, huge palaces: a pomp and pageantry that boggles the mind more than it connects to Richard the Lion-Hearted or whoever.

But the immediate image is not the whole story; we have nearly the pomp and a lot more glitz with movie stars, athlete stars, moguls and politicians. With them it disgusts us, with them it leaves us; with her it intrigues us, with her it endures.  With her it is regal.

There is the image of her that emerges less immediately, a reserve, a pensiveness, a quiet pride that may sometimes look arrogant: she doesn’t need us for her to shine, adoring crowds may even diminish her stature.

Deeper yet we sense her sense of duty, a quiet determination to carry on whatever it is that she represents and never to be vulnerable to the whims and windfall of public opinion or fashion.  Enduring. Permanent.

A jubilee is a lifetime’s biggest segment to help us measure, and that can afford us some perspective.  And even though you can’t really get perspective when you are still in the middle of a story, still, no celebs can even think in terms of jubilees.  

There is a shtetl story of when the Czar was overthrown by the Bolsheviks.  Enough Jews rejoiced then; the Jew-hater was dead, now Jew-hatred would die.  (We now like to think we know just how naïve they were.)  But there was one Jew in the shtetl, Yankel, who when he heard of the Czar’s murder he wept.  Yankel, why are you crying, his shtetl wondered.  Not for the Romanovs, he assured them, but for my grandchildren’s davening.  How, when I am teaching them “L-rd our G-d King of the Universe”, will I be able to describe to them what a king is?

If her grandfather’s cousin once served as an example of monarchy, Her Majesty serves as an example of aristocracy.  I cringe when I hear the Jewish Princess thing.  Princess does not mean pampered, does not mean protected, and certainly does not mean pomp or fashion (petit-bourgeois pomp?). Princess, as in the Talmud’s “the honor for a princess is seen in her reserve” is aristocracy.

So for giving the world this example, I thank her. Thanks to her, unlike Yankel we need not weep for our daughters, we need only teach them – and learn ourselves.  Long live . . . well, their Gracious Queen.

 
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