Mendy Kaminker
Mendy Kaminker

Why I will not be watching Prince Phillip’s funeral

To my dear British friends: don’t take offence, but I don’t plan to watch the live broadcast of Prince Phillip’s funeral.

Why? Simple. Although I have a deep respect for the deceased royal, his funeral takes place on Shabbat, our day of rest. On Shabbat, we avoid using electronic devices. So no live streaming of the Prince’s funeral for me.

To my dear American friends: Can we have a conversation about this? Why do we care so much about royals from across the pond?

Every time I consume a piece of content about the royals, I wonder why I did it. For more than 240 years, the British Monrach has no power over us. Yet we continue to show great interest in everything royal. Royal news, weddings and interviews are among the top headlines in US news.

This is not unique to the USA. The BBC estimated that 1.9 billion people (!!!) watched the royal wedding in 2018. These are staggering figures.

Which begs the question: why? What is it about royals that sparks our curiosity and interest?

Here is my theory:

We all grew up listening to fairy tales of kings and queens, princes and princesses.

And we are still dreaming of becoming royal.

Unlike most other celebrities who earned their way to the top, being a royal sound like all fun, no work. You don’t have to do too much. You live in a palace, surrounded by aides who are ready to fulfill any wish you have.

With regard to the Duke of Edingboro, nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, he lived in a palace, but his life was full of duty and service. Since 1952, he completed 22,219 public engagements. It was an endless task list of hosting, traveling, visiting, sharing words of encouragement, holding hands – and at the same time being aware that everyone is watching closely everything he says or does. Even for a moment, he could not forget who he is and what he is.

Coming to think of it, this sounds a lot like us.

On one hand, we are called the children of the king of kings, G-d himself. And we all carry a part of Him within us – our holy soul.

Yet this awesome recognition comes with an awesome responsibility:

Responsibility to constantly engage with the world around us in order to make it a better place; Responsibility to be there for others in their time of need; and perhaps above all to always remember who we are and whom we represent.

As we remember the life of the deceased royal, let’s look inward. Let’s recognize our own royalty, and strive to act upon it, by living a life full of service to the one above who created all monarchs.

About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of Chabad.org.
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