Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC
Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
<><><><>Thursday September 22 ,2022, 26 Elul, 5782 <><><><>
Throughout the world, many poignant words have been said about the Queen of England. It is as if the multitudes were sharing the same script. There were thousands who stood on line waiting to pass by her coffin and give homage to the late Queen. The thousands who waited in different locations to get a glimpse of the procession shed tears for a monarch they had never seen personally .Many just wanted to get a glimpse of King Charles III, other members of the royal family or just the procession. Many called this a lifetime experience. It appeared as if the entire world was watching all at the same time.
Many people are still reckoning with the loss of the queen, who reigned for the last 70 years. As The Washington Post points out, at least 90% of people alive today have never seen a world where Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t the monarch. And to pay their respects to such a prominent, long-standing figure, thousands have gathered outside of Buckingham Palace, Windsor, and other locations that were significant to the queen (per Reuters).
The Queen manifested royalty such in the way she handled certain family situations and her mannerisms .Even her choices of clothing were elegant, modest and aristocratic . She was an unbelievable role model to thousands of women of all ages . She was polite and courteous. Her language was so proper and never spoke words that were not appropriate.
Recently, I noticed as I was entering the elevator in my apartment building someone approaching, so I held the door for her. The young woman in her late teens thanked me and remarked how nice I was and so courteous. I thanked her for her kind words and responded how important it is to be polite and courteous. She replied that my actions and words were so uncommon these days. Mind you, these words were coming from a very young woman. In previous articles, I shared various positive interactions I had and still do with men and women of diverse backgrounds and how they respond in kind to me with their smiles, greetings and something nice to share with me. Being helpful, respectful, courteous, sincere, holding the door, or just a nod and a bright smile is the right way to make a Kiddush H.
England and its commonwealth now has a king. This article is in no way meant to judge what type of King Charles III will be like, or what type of person he will be like. Hopefully ,he will be a special caring king. Only time will tell.
The royalty of Hamelech Hakadosh,H whose coronation as our King takes place every Rosh Hashanah. Veatem teheyu le mamleches Kohanim vegoy kadosh. And you should be for me a royal nation. We as H holy nation should always try to emulate His ways.
You will see from the excerpts below about the Ribono she Olam, His kindness, and love for Klal Yisrael, His care for all people and how he shows mercy and also willingness to be forgiving of sins.
From the Artscroll Selichos
“An Overview” The Almighty’s Own Prayer” By teaching Moses the Attributes of Mercy, G was teaching the Jewish people that in order for their prayers to be efficacious, they just emulate the merciful traits of the One to Whom they pray. As R” Yochanan put it, G told Moses “ Let them perform this procedure”; G did not teach Moses words alone; He told him that the message of the words must be carried out. The “procedure” to be performed was the content of the Attributes of Mercy.
G thus showed Moses that in order to merit G’s mercy, Jews must be merciful to one another- single- mindedly so for just as the tallis draped around them shuts out physical distractions, so it must shut out the thousand reasons why one person does not deserve mercy, another is unworthy of patience, and a third has forfeited his right to forgiveness. By coupling the attitude of prayer with the text that proclaimed the infinite emulation of His merciful traits.
(cont) Alshich explains that R” Yochanan made it very clear that words are not enough, even if they are recited with feeling. Perform this procedure G pleaded. Do no merely speak about G’s mercy. Show human mercy. Only then does G guarantee that He will respond to us in kind( quoted by Eitz Yosef to Ein Yaakov, Rosh HaYeshiva 17b).
In the famous homily of Kedushas Levi, King David says H Tzilcha, H is your protector (Psalms 121:4).The phrase can also be rendered H is your shadow, for just as a shadow follows and imitates the actions of a person, so G in a sense, the shadow of a person’s deeds. If we are kind, He is kind to us. If we are forgiving, He is forgiving to us. And, unfortunately, vice versa. This is the sort of behavior that G called for, not words but emulation of G’s mercy.”
From Nishmas Song of the Soul by Yisroel Besser Artscroll Series Mesorah Publications Ltd. pages 12, 13 20, 21 “Writing acknowledgment brings to mind a story. The Tosher Rebbe, Rav Meshulam Feish Lowy, once called a close, generous chassid, Reb Yisrael Moshe Wassner, on the phone. The Rebbe said that he wanted to ask two favors.
First, there was a certain Jew whose home was in danger of foreclosure and the Rebbe was determined to help this person save his house, his dignity, and his peace of mind. The Rebbe asked Reb Yisroel Moshe to write a generous check and mail it immediately.
“I will wait here, on the telephone, while you address the envelope and send off the check,” the Tosher Rebbe said, “and then, after it’s in the mailbox, I’d like to speak with you again.”
Reb Moshe assured the Rebbe that he would mail the check and call the Rebbe back after the mission was complete, but the Rebbe insisted that he wanted to wait on the phone.
The chassid wrote the check, signed it, placed it in an envelope, and headed down the Manhattan street to the nearest mailbox. Several minutes later, he lifted the receiver and told the Rebbe, who had been waiting, that the check was en route to its destination.
“Good,” the Rebbe said with pleasure, “now I want you to do something else. Go to the corner of the room and say , ‘Ribono shel Olam, did I really do something so special? After all, I simply took some of the money You blessed me with and shared it with a brother of mine who needs it too. Ribono shel Olam, You enabled me to have this money and allowed me the zchus of sharing it, so Ribono shel Olam, I just want to thank you for letting me do my part.”
The sefer continues with how the Jews were treated in Mitzrayim and what occurred in the Yam Suf to the Mitzriyim. “Imagine, says the Chofetz Chaim, the message this sent to every single Jew standing there observing this. Hakadosh Baruch Hu was not only watching out for your people, your nation, your family-but for you !
(cont) It’s not only the nation that’s holy and beloved, it’s every individual within the nation.
Vaya’aminu, when they saw how personal that love was, they believed that Hakadosh Baruch Hu had a relationship with each one of them, that there was hashgacha, precise Divine involvement in every detail of their live.
That’s the message of Shira HaYam, says the Chofetz Chaim, and that it’s the ode of our people- a nation that crowns its King not just over the heaven and earth, the mountains and rivers, but over every single person: it’s all personal.”
(cont) Klal Yisrael is holy and precious and each individual within it is holy and precious. To the One Who chose us, Who created the world to benefit us, Who loves and protects us and showers us with kindness, it is to Him that we sing.”
From Perek Shirah The Song of the Universe. Artscroll Series, Mesorah Publications Ltd.
“The thick clouds say”
“ I will be to Israel like the dew, and he will blossom like a rosebush, and he will strike roots like the cedars of Lebanon(Hosea 14:6) In the midst of Hosea’s classic ad passionate call for repentance, G assures Israel of His mercy and readiness to take them back despite their sins. Like the beloved, always-welcome dew, which falls every day, whether or not we deserve it, G always awaits us, ready to accept us in His loving embrace. Thus, dew is the symbol of hope. And that is why the Sages speak of dew as the elixir that will bring the dead back to life, with the coming of Messiah.”
“The sheaf of wheat says:”
“ A song of the ascents. From the depths I called you, H( Psalms 130:1) How often does it happen that a person feels he has hit bottom, that there is no hope, that his most objective analysis shows that his prospects are nil. After being inundated with tales of woe, a great Chassidic master had no hopes or comfort, but he cried out, “Jews, do not despair! There is always hope, because we have a G of mercy! This is the message of the wheat sheaf. Its future is brightest when it is smashed and dismembered-because that is when its kernels are gathered from the chaff and are milled to make the flour that will nourish man.”
“The wind says:”
I will say to the North, ‘Deliver them!’ and to the South, ‘Do not withhold ! Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth (Isaiah 43:5) .” The winds sings Isaiah’s song of hope to the Children of Israel, who are exiled in every forlorn corner of the earth. When the time comes, G will command the four winds to bring His children home. From every direction will they come, No longer will holiness be found in isolated pockets, like tiny rays of little candles. One again, the Temple and its people will be a wellspring of spiritual life for all the world.”
Over and over, again and again, we learn, we read, we believe and in our hearts we do know how much the Ribono shel Olam loves us. His kindness, his goodness, and how he is a forgiving G can never be compared to a living human king or queen, not even Dovid Hamelech and Shlomo Hamelech as great as they were. Yet, we must have trust in H. Following in the path of H is to emulate Him with sincerity.
There are so many things we pray for, aside from forgiveness, Our whole future lies before us, Yet, as much as there is a concern what the future holds for each of us, we must be mispallel for all the good things we pray for. Only H can make everything good happen. We must remember that anything and everything we pray for is possible to come true. All of the above is difficult for a person going through challenging and difficult times. Rabbonim, Rebbetzins and Chaplains are often called to task giving appropriate pastoral care to those who have many doubts how to deal with their personal concerns whatever they may be. We can never give up, We must be as strong as possible. For many with low self-esteem, low self-confidence, or those who are feeling depressed (Not clinical depression. That needs a clinical diagnosis by a mental health professional) for whatever the reason might be. Rabbonim, Rebbetzins and Chaplains can give much needed chizuk. Just listening to a person going through a difficult time is so important. It is always important to remember there are times when a person truly needs the help of a professional and giving pastoral care is not enough. It is really meaningful for the Rabbi, Rebbetzin or Chaplain who can uplift the spirits of a person and may help find a solution if possible. It is very helpful for the person to know that he/she is not alone. You are there for that person, and most of all, the Ribono shel Olam is there for that person.
Let us be mispallel for all those who need a refuah sheleima, parnasah, a shiduch, and whatever else a person needs. Let us be mispallel for achdus, simchas hachayim, happiness, goodness and kindness. We have to remove loshon harah, jealousy and any ill feelings towards others. Everyone should have a heart of gold helping and caring for others in their times of need. It is so important to have a good heart for all Jewish men and women of all ages and of all backgrounds and always to be erlich, sincere.
May all of my readers have a kesiva vechasima tova , a shanah tovah umesukah.- A sweet and good year. May we be zoche to enhance the quality of Jewish life with maysim tovim and good feelings for each other. Let us all be good ambassadors of the Ribono shel Olam, and whenever and however to be Mekadeish H.
Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank