For the week ending 14 May 2011 / 9 Iyyar 5771

Reflections on the Royal Wedding

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair - www.seasonsofthemoon.com
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Queen Victoria once invited Sir Moses Montefiore to dine at the palace one Friday night. Needless to say, out of respect for her guest, she made sure that the food was kosher.

After the meal, however, the queen offered Sir Moses a large and very beautiful Havana cigar. Sir Moses was in a quandary. To light the cigar would be a serious flouting of Torah law — but to refuse the cigar might be considered an insult to Her Royal Highness.

Taking the cigar Montefiore said, "Your Majesty, such a gift cannot be allowed to merely go "up in smoke". I will treasure it always." With which, he placed the cigar into the pocket of his coat.

As loyal subjects of the queen, British Jews have always tried to honor the Crown, but the look on the face of one of the Orthodox Rabbis who was summoned to Westminster Abbey for the wedding must have been very similar to Sir Moses' expression when faced with the cigar.

One of the things that interested me about the recent royal wedding was its enormous popularity in the United States.

There were around 8,500 journalists in London for event, including some of biggest names from the major US networks.

Altogether, more than 100 overseas broadcasting organizations covered the event — most of them from the US.

Why are Americans so fascinated by the Royals?

One of the answers could be connected with another news event that happened that same week:

Barack Hussein Obama II, the president of the United States of America, had to vindicate his yichus, his lineage, as a native-born American citizen, by revealing to the media his birth certificate that showed he was born in Hawaii to Barack Hussein Obama I, a Nigerian student, and Stanley Ann Dunham from Wichita Kansas.

Since its inception, the United States has gradually replaced aristocracy with celebrity. The result is that lineage fascinates the American mind. And no one more so than the British Royals.

More than anything, the wedding brought to mind the Talmud's injunction in Berachot that a person should always run to see a King from amongst the nations of the world, so that he will be able to appreciate the regality of the line of King David with the coming of the Mashiach, may we welcome him speedily in our days!

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