You are a Prince!
Every Jew is a child of The King
The verse in this week’s Torah reading (14:1) states as follows: “You are
children of God, do not mutilate yourselves and do not shave your heads
between your eyes [in mourning] over the deceased. Because you are a holy
nation of God, your Master, and it is you who God chose to be His cherished
nation of all the people on the face of the earth.” These words should be sending us shock waves. God is speaking to us in first person and telling us bluntly, that we are holy, we are His people, and not only His people, but we are considered His children! Since God is the King of all kings and of all aspects of creation, this means that we are princes and princesses of the highest stature. This is why, God demands of us to act accordingly and not abuse our bodies in mourning, as is befitting of elevated people.
While the Torah hereby is addressing a specific prohibition, the message is by no means limited to this particular law. The message is an all-encompassing attitude for us in life. As princes, we are princes by definition our entire lives, every moment from the day we are born, whether we are conscious of it or not. Since this is our essence, it is incumbent upon us to live up to who we truly are.
There was once an Israeli fellow who was sitting with his wife in a waiting room of a government office. Everyone around seemed to be conversing in English except for one couple who spoke Spanish. At one point, the fellow’s wife asked him a question in Hebrew. Suddenly, the Spanish speaking man jumped up from his seat. He approached the Israeli and asked him what language was it that he was just talking in. When he heard it was Hebrew, he asked, “Are you Jewish?” As his suspicion was confirmed, he started to tremble. “What’s going on with you?” asked the Jew. The fellow then proceeded to tell him that he hails from a remote village in Mexico and he never saw a Jew before. He read all about them in the Bible, how the Jews are the children of God, and he was overwhelmed with excitement to see for the first time a son of God. After he concluded his story he requested to be allowed to ask a question. The Israeli acquiesced, and the forthcoming question was: “Please tell me, what goes on in the minds of people of such stature? As children of The King, are you busy contemplating lofty ideas throughout the day? Or is your mind occupied with the mundane details of life like the rest of us?”
This concept is very empowering, but will accomplish nothing if we fail to take it seriously. We have to acknowledge that this is a reality and not just a nice poetic description or metaphor. We cannot afford to let this impression slip away from us. We have to make a conscious effort to remind ourselves of who we really are. As we start to internalize this concept, we will start to be more aware of our dignity, the privilege and the responsibility of being the most majestic princes and princesses. This attitude will then lead us to live on a higher level, to act in a way that is befitting for exalted children of royalty.
Another insightful Torah thought by Rabbi Yitzchok Aryeh Strimber: Parshas Re’eh 5779/2019 firstname.lastname@example.org