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Jewish Self Esteem

By Rabbi Yisroel Roll

My family and I lived in London, England for nine years. We lived in London's fashionable West End near Hyde Park--200 yards from Princess Diana's Kensington Palace.

On November 29, 1996 I went into my local barber shop, Lucas' Hair Salon and saw a lady sitting on a couch who looked very much like Diana, the Princess of Wales. Next to her having a haircut was a 14 year old blonde teenager. I turned to the man next to me on the couch and whispered: "Is that the Princess?" He said he didn't know. He turned out to be her security guard. A young woman ran up to her and asked to take a photgraph with her, which she declined. Then I knew it was her. Here was my big chance.

I said: "Princess, I am the rabbi of the local synagogue in St. Petersburgh Place around...."

The Princess cut me off in mid sentence and said: "It appears that even Rabbis can take off half an hour for a haircut."

I rose to the occasion. "It appears that even a princess can take off half an hour for a haircut!"

Eight months previously, I had written to the princess inviting her to attend our synagogue's concert which was going to take place the next night, on November 30th. I reminded her of this: "I invited the Princess -- (I spoke in the third person out of respect for royalty) -- to my synagogue's Cantorial Concert this coming Saturday night, but the princess was not able to join us."

"Thank you for inviting me," she said.

I said: "In Hebrew we have a saying: Chazak V'ematz---be strong and of good courage. I wish the Princess well."

I looked up at the teenager in the barber chair and saw the barber putting mousse in his hair. Only his hairdresser knows for sure that Prince William, the future King of England, puts mousse in his hair.

That night I came home from shul and told the story to my wife and children. "Can you believe it? I sat in the same chair as the future King of England. And guess what?" I said to my awe inspired kids, "I'm also a king! It says in the Talmud: 'Israel are the sons and daughters of Kings.'"

We, the Jewish people, are sons and daughters of the first king and queen, Abraham and Sarah. The essence of a king is that he PROVIDES for his subjects. G-d is the King Of kings, because He is the Ultimate Provider--of life itself. When any of us gives charity or does an act of kindness for another-then we are acting G-dlike-because we are providing for another. We are thus emulating G-d as King and thus become regal ourselves.

This is the secret of Jewish self esteem. We have forgotten that we descend from royalty-the regal values of kindness and giving-that Abraham and Sarah brought to the world.

It is very easy to reclaim our right to our royal lineage. All we have to do is to activate our royal nature by making an effort - by going out of our way to act with chessed-kindness for our spouse, child, parent, neighbor or friend. You can live up to your royal status as a descendant of royal ancestors. Go ahead-do a random act of kindness-right now-and be a King-or Queen-for the day.

Rabbi Yisroel Roll is
Director of Encounter USA,
based in Baltimore, Maryland.
www.encounterusa.com.
To hear more from Rabbi Roll,
Buy his book now!

 

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