That woman with the sword…
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch the coronation of King Charles as it was Shabbos. However, I feel there are many inspirations that a Jewish person might take from the coronation, and royalty more broadly, many of which have already been well-documented in Jewish media around the world.
For me, the analogy between the monarch’s unstinting service to the nation and the Jew’s unstinting service to G-d is the most powerful and inspiring, but there are others.
The unparalleled sense of majesty associated with these landmark royal ceremonials, as noted by our sages across millennia of writings, may be – in purely human terms today – the closest we can feel to the sense of awe and reverence in serving Hashem at our treasured and deeply-mourned Temples.
In our present era, the coronation imagery will certain help me to frame appropriate kavana (somewhat loosely meaning intention or mindset) each year at Rosh Hashana and during the Ten Days when we as Jewish people proclaim Hashem as our king.
The direct replication by the British Royal Family of many practices described in scripture and halakha with respect to the coronation of the Jewish monarch is not only a source of pride, but also, when taken together with the presence of heads of state from the majority of countries around the world, heightens anticipation of the messianic era.
With all this said, perhaps the most captivating imagery from the coronation seems to be the woman dressed in blue and gold that carried around a big sword for several hours.
This is Penny Mordaunt, a senior UK politician from the ruling Conservative Party, one of the rare politicians I can say I admire. She stands in the ‘no nonsense’ tradition of great British politicians from the right and left alike.
It seems likely at some point, possibly in the near future, she will become the leader of the Conservatives and conceivably prime minister soon after.
For now, I would like to say that Israeli politicians and diplomats may take some inspiration from Penny, not necessarily on carrying around swords, but on dealing with common situations they face during their work
Firstly, Penny shows how to deal with double standards, as Israel often faces from the country’s critics at the United Nations. Here she is brutally dealing with gripes about the UK Government from the hapless Scottish National Party, which is the ruling party of the Scottish Government under the prevailing devolution arrangements:
Secondly, Penny shows how to deal with the unsubstantiated smears that Israel also commonly faces at the UN and around the world. Here she is again, this time dealing – also brutally – with the deputy leader of the Labour Party, the official UK Opposition:
But the greatest lesson for Israeli politicians may be this: the ability to completely destroy the opponent’s argument with a calm dignity that involves addressing only the facts and not the personalities. Debate of this kind – tough but impersonal – may help to improve the unfortunate recent tone of Israel’s politics and reduce some of the divisiveness that comes from crude name-calling and prejudice.