Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin MBE, Ilford Essex UK
Ever since a child, I was brought up by my parents to appreciate the Royal Family, writes Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin MBE, of Ilford, Essex.
Ever since a child, I was brought up by my dear parents Rev Aron Dov and Hennie Sufrin z”l to appreciate the Royal Family. There was always some Royal memorabilia in our home, wall plates and mementos from Royal occasions, weddings and other significant events.
As a small child (approx 8) I was taken with my siblings whilst on a family summer holiday to see the Queen as she was disembarking from the Royal Yacht Britannia in Aberdeen, Scotland. Having been woken early, we waited hours in the drizzle for the Queen to arrive. When she did eventually come down the gang way, my father encouraged me to make the special Brocho, which we did, the Queen sat in her limousine and passed us with the many hundreds who had done the same and waved the "Royal wave" and was gone. I remember saying to my parents, "is that it?" To which they answered, "We are fortunate to have a Royal family and lessons can be learned."
It was not until many years later that I realized what this significant moment was in my life and I am grateful to my parents a"h for giving me this unique opportunity.
On my Shlichus, in 2007, Prince Edward, the Queen's youngest son opened an extension in our Chabad House dedicated to "Drugsline," our unique non-denominational drugs intervention and educational services center, operated out of our Chabad House in Ilford, Essex.
One year later, in 2008, my wife Devorah and I were invited to the Queen's summer garden party in Buckingham Palace where we met Royalty again.
A year later, in October 2008, I was honored with the award and now title of MBE (Member of the British Empire) by the Queen in Buckingham Palace at a special investiture for our contribution to "Drugsline, the Jewish and wider Community in Essex, UK." It was an honor to have a few moments in the presence and conversation with Her Majesty the Queen, which I and my family will treasure for the rest of our lives.
I have spoken numerous times about its significance since then and again in Shul yesterday:
In short: we are taught Malchusa de’rokia, Ke’ein Malchusa De’rokia, when we observe the Royal Family, and in particular Her Royal Highness the Queen of England, we can begin to appreciate what this is all about.
The Alter Rebbe in the Shiur Tanya in recent days has been expressing the concepts of Yira Tato’oh (lower level of fear) and Yiroh I’la’oh, (higher level of fear) and uses the analogy of a King of flesh and blood, the awe that one feels when meeting him, in addition the Alter Rebbe writes that even if the King is not present but one visits his place of residence, his palace, one feels his presence and hence struck with a level of awe.
One cannot help to invoke these feeling when in the presence of our Queen and her Royal Family.
In addition we must remember that BH we live in a Malchus Shel Chesed, The Jews of England were not always welcome and free to live as frum Yidden, which we must recognize at all times with Hakaras Hatov. In addition, we can learn the importance of time, coordination and Achdus working together for a common good. The precision and Britain at its best, in providing us with a show of excellence in pomp and ceremony, timing and coordination are certainly lessons for us all to learn.
So, my dear friends, there are lessons for us all - Yidden and non Jews alike. I most certainly did watch the Royal wedding, I spoke about its importance and lessons that we can learn from it. Collectively we daven for their welfare and that of the new couple Prince William and Kate, now known as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, so that in the best possible way the new couple who did go through the ceremony of marriage can continue to be role models for the millions who did watch and observe their wedding. We hope that they will take note that even in this world of modernity, with all its challenges, that "marriage" is sacred and should be encouraged amongst ALL people to provide stability and security for the next generation for whom we are privileged and charged with the task to bring into this world.