Sunday, May 1, 2011

Quick Thought Regarding The King of Kings

When while praying you call God a King, what exactly were you thinking of?

Trying as hard as I could to not watch the Royal Wedding, it became blatantly obvious to me that we will soon have to rewrite many of our Midrashim and Prayers. For generations the concept of king lent itself to the religious life - as a metaphor, as a simile and quite literally. We Jews prayed to our God King of Kings, we compared God to an earthly king (both to point out the similarities and the differences) and we sometimes quite literally just saw God as a king. 

Monarchy has been out of fashion in the west for some time. However, while Monarchy lost its philosophical justification (at least outside of Disney films), we retained some understanding of a king as an all powerful ruler. Watching those who watched the royal wedding, I realized that the concept of king has gone through a process of  metamorphosis from its footing as a symbol of power, into a symbol of celebrity. Once upon a time when viewing a king's wealth at least the more thoughtful would have seen it as a symbol of power. However in the modern context a King is nothing but another celebrity. The dances and balls, the castles, the clothes and even the national anthem no longer register as a king's power - just his celebrity status.

As such the metaphor of king, has not only lost its potency -it might actually be quite damaging. The thought that young Jewish minds are praying to their celebrity King God, is really quite troubling.

Side note: Sadly my vacation in coming to an end. I will be returning to Israel tomorrow, and  should be back to regular blogging in the next few days.
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