The Ultimate King

Rochel Cohen, Brooklyn, NY
Essays 2018

MyLife Essay Contest 2018

If there is one thing that the British are proud of, it is their monarchy. Let me tell you, the thousands of tourists travelling through London Heathrow airport daily, definitely aren’t coming for the weather. Watching the changing of the guards on a Sunday morning, getting a tour of the Royal palace, and seeing the Crown Jewels are only some of the greatest highlights.

Prince Harry’s most recent engagement to Meghan Markle has been featured on the front pages of all the magazines and newspapers. Princess Kate now expecting her third beautiful child, still looking as elegant as always in her designer dresses. Prince George’s first day at school, and all the other Royal Family updates are constantly taking up our news feed.

Roughly 24.5 million people watched the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on TV in 2011, and that is just in the UK.
With an Instagram account of over 1.3 million followers containing images of Pipa’s wedding, Meghan’s lavish engagement ring and Princess Charlotte’s first day at nursery, there is clearly a world-wide obsession of The Royal Family which just keeps growing. It’s one of my favourite accounts to browse through while drinking my morning coffee.

But is that what the British Monarchy have become? Just another Instagram account to browse? Just another designer dress, and beautiful figure? Just another ordinary family of fame alongside all the other reality TV stars and celebrities? Is that what royalty and the British Monarchy is?

For me, royalty should be royal. They are not supposed to be like ‘one of us’. However, it has become too informal. The concept of a monarchy has gradually cheapened. The way I see it, Queen Elizabeth is the last one to have that touch of refinement that the rest of the monarchy is now lacking.

As Emma Dent Coad, the MP for Kensington stated in July 2017 “I say the Middletons are like the Kardashians now, because they are such film stars. It just shows how much it has all changed…”

Surely it is no coincidence that England are one of the few monarchy’s left – and even they seem to be hanging on their last threads!

This whole concept of the decline of monarchy in the world isn’t just in the secular world, perhaps it is a manifestation of malchus, and mirrors the fact that we no longer have our king, our nassi, a physical Rebbe.

This is my personal issue. I was born after Gimmel Tammuz, and unfortunately I never had the chance to meet the Rebbe. I often find it very challenging to feel the connection, the sensitivity and the refinement when in my eyes, my connection to the Rebbe is as good as my connection to Moshe Rabeinu; just another guy in a story book. How can I have a feeling towards yiddishkeit without a Nassie, a leader, without a king?!

When the Alter Rebbe was in jail, the Czar had heard of his greatness, and wanted to come and meet him. He took off his royal robes and disguised himself as a clerk of the courts. However, when he walked into the Rebbe’s cell, the Rebbe immediately stood up and honoured him as befitting royalty. The Czar was surprised and asked the Rebbe why he gave such honour befitting a king, when he is just an ordinary clerk.

The Rebbe responded: “You must be the Czar! Our sages tell us ‘malchus on earth is similar to the malchus of G-d’ He felt the unusual awe/fear of G-d when the Czar walked in.

Let us take a deeper look at what Torah and Chassidus defines as being a king, why we have a king, and how, without a king, we can still reach the king within ourselves.

In Devarim:17:14 we read the mitzvah of appointing a king: ‘When you come to the land that your G-d shall give you, and you possess and settle in it, you will say ‘We wish to appoint a king over ourselves, as is the practice of all our surrounding nations.’ Indeed, appoint a king over yourselves, the individual whom your G-d will choose…”

The Rebbe explains in Likkutei Sichos: Vol 24: Page 104: The two traits a Jewish king must have:
1. His head over his shoulders.
2. Submission to G-d.

The Tzemach Tzedek tells us in Derech Mitzvasecha that the purpose of appointing a king is so that through him, we become subservient to G-d. As we see in the British monarchy, and in all secular monarch’s, a nation, by law, is subservient to the king and must obey all his decrees. Therefore, if the king is subservient to G-d, by extensions, the people are subservient to G-d too.”

However, this is what Shaul was lacking. He made two mistakes where he listened to the Jewish people over listening to Hashem.

The Rambam explains that appointing a king is one of the three mitzvos when we enter the land of Israel. We can understand from here, that appointing a king is essential for rebuilding the third temple, which is our ultimate goal.

Before Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe often told us that he has done all he can, and now it is our turn to build the third temple and to bring Moshiach. As mentioned above, we can see that in order to do this we have to appoint a king. How can we do this, when we no longer have a Rebbe, a Nassi?

It is our job to reach the king within ourselves! We need to find a ‘Jewish King’s’ traits within ourselves.

The Zohar tells us that each person has three general faculties that we each possess: The brain (intellect), the heart (emotion) and the liver (action).

In Derech mitzvosecha, the Tzemach Tzedek explains how the three Hebrew words for brain, heart and liver – Moach, Leiv, Caved – spell out the word melech.

Step one: We have to establish our minds as king of our lives/body. We have to have our head over our body. If we do Mind-heart-action, we will be king and have control over our own lives, unlike animals, we have our head over our heats – we can be submissive to our emotions.

Step two: We have to be submissive to G-d and obedience of his instructons. This is what Shaul was lacking as a king.

For a successful personal monarchy: maintaining a healthy hierarchy: the emotions and actions are subservient to the mind, and the mind is subservient to G-d.

We then come to the ultimate king, Torah’s definition of a king, who will be Moshiach, and he will take us to the third and final Beis Hamikdash.