Esor Ben-Sorek

If I Were King

I once dreamed that I had been crowned king of Israel. No more Knessets. No more Chief Rabbinates. No more law courts. Only the introduction of the seven Noahide laws. Other than that, each subject of the kingdom could live life in accordance with personal preference.

My palace would be humble with a huge reception chamber to which all my subjects could enter and present a petition to the king (me, of course).

There would be no taxation. Structures, infrastructures, water resources would be funded by the donations made by visitors to the kingdom who sought an audience with the king.

So many thousands of shekels would be paid for an autograph from the monarch. Hundreds of thousands of shekels would be paid for posing with the king for a photograph to be framed in gold.

The money would be collected by the royal treasurer, a man named Deri, and he alone would count the sums. He would take his “meager” salary from the donations while another servant of the king, a man named Litzman, was designated to give charity to the poor and needy subjects of my realm.

He, however, believed in the wisdom of an adage which declared that “charity begins at home”, which, according to him, meant his home, of course. Quite natural for a man of his stature.

I, the king, would exist on the favors of my people. Some would bring me chickens, some would bring me beef, others would bring potatoes and red kidney beans, all of which would be boiled and then baked into a royal dish called “cholent”.

It would be prepared in one of the many royal kitchens by an old hag, a nasty complainer named Sura and would be served to the king by a former reformed prisoner named Bubu.

The subjects of my kingdom would be happy. They would eat and drink when they hungered or thirsted. They would eat as much as their stomachs could hold. What they could not finish eating could be wrapped as a “take-away” to enjoy before or after, but never during, marital relations.

One may have eaten meat and the other, dairy. Never could the twain kiss lest their mouths were filled with unmatched foods.

Children would attend schools of the parents’ choice. Teachers would instruct with love and caring. There would be no written tests or examinations. Pupils would be graded by their oral responses to questions the teacher would pose. School would be happy. Children would run to be on time for the daily lesson.

On the first Sunday of each month, I, the king, would receive subjects to hear their complaints.

Marriages would be simple. A man would simply say to a woman “I love you and I want to marry you as my wife.” The woman would reply “I love you too and rejoice in loving you as my husband”.

Each man would place a simple gold ring on a finger of his bride and the king would declare “by virtue of your love, you are hereby married with my blessings for long and happy years together”.

Divorce would be forbidden in my kingdom. If one of the couples suffers, the suffering must be in silence.

Punishment for alleged crimes would require payment of a set amount of money to be placed into Deri’s pockets…….ooooops, forgive my ridiculous error. I meant into Deri’s hands. As an honest servant of the realm, he would dispense charity to those whom he thought were deserving. Often, to many of his friends.

If one of my subjects committed a crime in another kingdom and that kingdom demanded a return to stand for a hearing, it must be obeyed by the king of the accused’s kingdom. It happened that the man called Litzman violated the system by hiding one of the accused and refusing to transport him or her to the other kingdom on the other side of the universe. For this, he was discharged from his royal duties.

If one of my chief ministers had deceived me, had lied to the subjects of my kingdom, had taken bribes, he would be dismissed from my kingdom forever and it would be published in the notices of all the surrounding kingdoms. He would die later in shame and disgrace.

If I were king I would sit peacefully in my garden under a large fig tree or vine with none to make me afraid.

Life would be tranquil in my kingdom. Hatred and vile language would be prohibited. Love would prevail.

It would be such a delightful kingdom, a place of peace and justice.

I was about to reach for my golden glittering crown on the table beside my bed when suddenly my foot slipped and I fell to the ground.

I awoke within moments, pulled myself back into my bed and began to resume my dream. Within minutes I had lost my throne, my royal palace, my servants, my realm. It had all been a dream.

One that had been earlier prophesized by a magnificent poet in a far-away kingdom.

“To sleep. Perchance to dream. Aye …. There’s the rub”.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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