Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz – Abdication Contemplation

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Operation Inspiration

Let me start by saying that I do not generally follow the news. I know, that’s silly because since everything happens because of Klal Yisrael, there are many messages out there to be picking up. However, I do have an arrangement with Hashem. I got it from an old joke.

A Priest, a Minister and a Rabbi were discussing the charity they collected. The Priest said, “I draw a circle on the floor. I throw the money in the air and whatever lands in the circle I give to poor people. The rest I keep for myself.

The Minister said, I also draw a circle on the floor. Then I throw the money up in the air. Whatever lands in the circle I take for myself, whatever lands outside I give away.

The Rabbi said, “I don’t draw a circle. I throw the money up in the air. Whatever Hashem wants He can keep, and whatever falls down I take.”

I don’t look for news stories, but once in a while something catches my eye and I take that as a sign that Hashem wanted me to hear it. I then keep the knowledge in the back of my mind until I can use it. Well, I’d heard murmurings about Prince Harry this and Royal Family that, but I didn’t pay it much attention. I’m not a British subject and I don’t generally care about the palace intrigue. However, when I saw the headline, “Why would Harry walk away from an 88 Billion Dollar fortune?” I KNEW that was a Jewish question. Let’s face it, Jews do love money. It’s how we’re made and this desire is meant to be put to good use.

So, who is Harry and why is he walking away from a fortune? Well, it turns out Harry is none other than Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, younger son of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and sixth in line to the throne of England.

Known as a wild-child in his rebellious teen years, Harry also made waves by marrying an American actress and spending lots of British taxpayer money renovating their home. The fact that his wife is mixed race, as her mother is black, has led to murmurings of racism in coverage of their lives, and much more drama ensued.

In recent weeks, they announced their intention to “take a step back” from being Senior Royals. They don’t want their children to be raised under the microscope that royals are viewed through. They want to be able to live as they please and not have to worry about what people will say about them. In a special agreement, they will give up the use of the titles, “His Royal Highness” and “Her Royal Highness” and repay some of the money they used to fix up their home.

They will be living in the Western Hemisphere and be able to earn their own money, though Harry may not capitalize too much on his ties to the House of Windsor. This, I’m sure, has all been very fascinating to you, but what does it have to do with the Jews?

Well, to my mind, the Jewish People is the largest “royal family” in history. Our Father is the King, and each of us is a prince or princess. While we may never sit on the throne per se, we are all “active royals” and how we behave is going to be the subject of tremendous scrutiny. What we do will make headlines and if we are rebellious or wild, that’s what’s going to be portrayed in the world, along with the magnification of us being royals.

There’s an old joke about Jewish persecution: “If the Jews are the Chosen People, couldn’t G-d choose someone else for a change?” Some Jews may, like Prince Harry, feel the pressure of having to be on their best behavior all the time. They may wish they could “step back” from the public eye and just be “average” like everyone else. However, no matter how much a person might wish to give up the royal title of “holy Jew,” it’s not something for which there’s a mechanism. We have no option to abdicate our position.

We are special not simply for having been born into this family, but because our souls stood at Mount Sinai and CHOSE this life. We accepted the responsibilities of being Hashem’s family as well as the rewards and consequences thereof. We are not elitist nor racist for anyone who accepts upon themselves the same yoke can join our royal family. However, one cannot merely remove the yoke and revert back to being “one of the gang.”

To reject our royal duties is to cast aspersions on the Monarch. It is to deny who we are and attempt to change something that will never change. Do you honestly believe that if Mr. Henry Charles Albert David (Harry’s real name) does something wrong in Canada it won’t be front-page news? That people will ever stop looking at him as a royal? I don’t see it happening. He will always be who he was born to be and his failures will be noted front and center.

We are who we are. We are royals who should feel differently than others. We should feel not only an obligation to hold ourselves to a higher standard, but that it is natural for us to do so. What may be fine for others is not fine for us.

We are all members of the royal household and we will forever be in the public eye. Instead of seeing this as a burden, we should see it as an opportunity to win the love and admiration of the public, and burnish society’s opinion of our Family every single day.

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