The following story I heard from Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson who heard it firsthand twenty years ago in Detroit, Michigan. Jackson heard the story from a Jewish Community leader who welcomed him into his home as a house guest.
The host told him that through his business dealings in England, he formed very close relationships with the top Parliament officials.
Once in a meeting with Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of England, the host asked her what was the most difficult part of being Prime Minister?
She smiled and said, “That’s an easy question, but the subject matter would be much more interesting to a woman.”
He encouraged her to continue with her story anyway.
A Meeting with the Queen of England
She explained as follows: “As Prime Minister, it was my duty that every Tuesday at 6 pm I had a meeting with the Queen of England to update her on the major issues of the country.”
She went on. “One Tuesday, something happened to me that put me into a frenzy of major proportions! When I came to greet the Queen I realized that I was wearing the exact same outfit as her Royal Highness. There were many officials present and I kept frantically looking around searching for some sort of help.”
None came and she further explained that she handled the meeting as if nothing had happened and as soon as she got back she sent a message to the Queen begging for her forgiveness.
She explained that from now on she would be sending a staff member beforehand to check on what the Queen would be wearing to prevent another clothing catastrophe.
A short while later she received the following response.
“Her Majesty the Queen does not know what you are referring to, for she never once has ever paid attention to the clothes of commoners.”
This response was not what the Prime Minister was expecting. However, it did indeed express the Queen’s authentic, majestic and aristocratic worldly view.
Chesed of Malchut
This last week of the Sefirat Ha`omer is Chesed of Malchut, which means Leadership and sovereignty. Sovereignty is the last of the seven attributes. It is different from the previous six. It is a state of being rather than an activity. Leadership is a passive expression of human dignity which has nothing of its own except that which it receives from the other six emotions.
On the other hand, Malchut manifests and actualizes the character and majesty of the human spirit. It is the very fiber of what makes us human. When love, discipline, compassion, endurance, and humility bond into the psyche, the result is Malchut. Bonding nurtures us and allows our sovereignty to surface and flourish.
Malchut is a sense of belonging. Knowing that you matter and that you make a difference. That you have the ability to be a proficient leader in your own right. It gives you independence and confidence. A feeling of certainty and authority as if I have nothing to fear. I feel like a king in my heart. This is Malchut, kingship.
When we finally graduate from this level of leadership, we are then ready to receive a new crown of Torah.
The Holiday of Shavous
The holiday of Shavuos is the holiday that we celebrate receiving the Torah.
Our sages explain that, unlike the priestly crown, which is limited to the children of Aaron, and the Crown of the Kingdom, which is limited to the children of David, the Crown of Torah is available for every single Jew.
When a Jew learns Torah for the sake of coming closer to the Divine, he places this crown on himself. This elevates him to the aristocrat that he or she really is.
Shavuos is also the Yahrzeit of both King David and the Ba’al Shem Tov or Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov.
After the story of David taking Bathsheba for a wife, the prophet Noson chastised the king for sending Bathsheba’s husband to the front line of battle in order to marry her.
Instead of King David punishing the prophet or denying responsibility, he simply responds, I have sinned before the Divine.
This is a true leader who is willing to accept responsibility for his actions.
The Ba’al Shem Tov, known as Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer or as the Besht, was a Jewish mystic and healer from Poland who is regarded as the founder of Hasidic Judaism. Besht is the acronym for Ba’al Shem Tov which means “one with the good name or “one with a good reputation.” He spent his sixty-two years on this earth revealing that the secret of true aristocracy and happiness comes from within.
It is not the things that you own or the positions you hold that bring you honor and respect. But it is through one’s thoughts, speech, actions, and decisions that one earns true respect.
Have a wonderful Shabbos and a Gut Yom Tov!