Why I Won’t be Watching the Royal Wedding
In case you have spent your Passover vacation on another planet, you have not heard that the wedding of Prince William of Wales and Catherine (Kate) Middleton is scheduled to take place at Westminster Abbey on Friday.
As an Englishman in New York, I’m obviously interested in the nuptials of Prince William, who is second in the line of succession to Queen Elizabeth II. Like everybody, I remember where I was when his mother was tragically killed (Jerusalem), and I’ve grown up with him. Yet, I do not intend watching the royal wedding, and that has nothing to do with the fact that my invitation must have gotten lost somewhere over the pond.
While Prince William and Kate have personally approved a list of memorabilia, including official mugs, plates, biscuit tins and porcelain pill pots, tea-towels and, of course, the official china, I’m not buying into it, literally.
The wedding hysteria and celebrity publicity hoopla surrounding the wedding is at a boiling point, and as the world agonizes over the dress, cake and honeymoon, I will be serving my own Queen, as we prepare Shabbat Dinner for 50 guests in our Jewish community center.
I vaguely remember the royal wedding of Charles and Diana and not so vaguely remember how Camelot fell in the intervening years. With respect to the House of Windsor, they do have a disastrous record when it comes to nuptials.
Let’s face it—what does one expect in a world of texts and tweets, celebrity fascination has been magnified more than ever? I would dare to ponder, ‘what would the world think if the fashion police were to analyze my every clothing choice?’
Judaism places special respect on government and royalty. The 14th century sage, Rabbi Dovid Abudraham, first included a special prayer, writing that it is the “custom to bless the King, and to pray to G-d that He may give him victory.” Being that when there is peace in the palace, there is peace in the kingdom.
Interestingly, in a few weeks, Jews around the world will celebrate the holiday of Shavuot. The Talmud describes Shavuot, the day marking the giving of the Torah, as resembling a wedding between the Almighty and the Jewish people. The Almighty as the groom and the Jewish people as the bride; Mount Sinai represents the wedding canopy and the Torah the ring on His bride’s finger. Each year on Shavuot we renew our nuptial vows to our Beloved Creator as the word “Shavuot” has the same root as the Hebrew word “shevuah”—an oath.
In a Jewish wedding, after the ceremony, the bride and groom adjourn to a private room called the “yichud” (private) room. The few minutes the couple share alone allude to their new intimate relationship and emphasizes that their absolute privacy be respected.
This is something our dear young royals so badly need. In the words of the prayer, “May the supreme King of kings, in His mercy, sustain them and deliver them from all distress and misfortune.”
Mazel tov, Prince William and Kate! I’m going to give you the one gift you need most—the gift of freedom.
Simcha Weinstein is an internationally known, best-selling author. He has appeared on CNN Showbiz Tonight and NPR, and has been profiled in leading publications, including The New York Times, The Miami Herald and The London Guardian. He chairs the Religious Affairs Committee at the renowned New York art school, Pratt Institute. His latest book is Shtick Shift: Jewish Humor in the 21st Century.