I recently learned that I live in a Kingdom. Yes, a real actual Kingdom. One with a King.
Not hailing from the U.K. , like some of my best friends, I've never actually experienced what that's like. But it's always looked kind of cool. Crowns, scepters, jewels, a palace! And then there's all that pomp and circumstance. Nice! What's not to like? My mom's always been an anglophile so, naturally following suit, I'm a fan as well.
Unfortunately, I can't share in any of that fun. I was born in a country that threw away all that standing on ceremony stuff and then made my way across the Mediterranean to what, in comparison, seems a lot gloomier: a Socialist country which, although formerly known for its Kings, some of them pretty darn famous according to the Old Testament, has retained absolutely no residue of that appealing royal blue.
Until now, or rather, two weeks ago, when our esteemed prime minister decided to bow (that's a pretty accurate term) to one of the cabinet minister's to whom he feels especially beholden, (as is his way), to raise his scepter and make a royal proclamation. I'm just calling a spade a spade. In the blink of an eye, before anyone had had a chance to take a breath, figure out what was what or even understand what was happening, our ruler had declared that the Rail Authority would no longer be able to work on Shabbat, effectively shutting down a vital organ responsible for moving thousands upon thousands of people through this country, from one end to the other.
Yes, that was none other than a proclamation, because proclamations are announcements...just words set out there for the public to hear.
Hell of a way to start his career as a monarch! For although, like other royal proclamations, it took a bit for this one to sink it; for its ramifications, the havoc it would wreck, the averse affect it would have specifically on that population to which we are most beholden, our soldiers!, to truly settle in; it wasn't long before the people started to buzz, to scream and to revolt!
"No trains on Saturday? No trains? How can that be?"
And of course, like any good socialist state, unused to royal proclamations but knowing when it has been had; aware of the power it holds to alter an unwanted reality, it began to churn and to roil, virtually boiling over as it decided to strike back! The rail authority boldly stepped in, with the support of the masses, who were out protesting almost within hours, and declared, in an almost Dr. Seuss fashion, "We'll see your shut down and raise it! No trains on Shabbat you say? Then nor will there be any on Sunday!"
Well, as stories in kingdoms are wont to go, things started to fall apart.
The people became truly unhinged, caught in a maelstrom from which there seemed no escape. Although inconveniencing precisely those people who were incensed, there was overwhelming support. "Absolutely. We're with them!" The general consensus was that if everyone took the King's proclamation lying down the world would come to an end; that it was easier to pull the plug from the get-go and suffer one horrific 24 hour period; to make the point, once and for all, that this Socialist country had no interest in royal proclamations, had proven its strength over the several generations by well-considered decisions that served the people and, maybe even more pertinently, was "Mad as Hell" and simply, "Wasn't going to take it anymore!"
And so it was. The people had their say, effectively shutting down the country. The chaos began Saturday night and increased one hundred fold Sunday morning as a large proportion of the population (yes, including those men and women in green, beige and white for whom we are forever grateful) simply could not get where it needed to be.
The King, picking up on the murmurs among his most faithful supporters as well as the shouts of the masses, began to panic. He called upon reinforcements, in this case extra buses. But this minor move made very little of a dent in the bedlam which ensued. And in the end, all the King's horses and all the King's men (or buses) couldn't put together a pretty picture. The traffic went wild!
At this point the King realized that his proclamation had been both hasty and premature; that maybe being the ruler of a kingdom wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
And so, he buckled; immediately blaming his chief stewards, eager to find a way to undo what he had done. But it was the people, in the end, who took the reins. By saying "Enough," (and yes, the Jewish people are very good at saying this) they'd gotten the attention of not only the King, but more significantly, of those within his realm who knew full well that justice needed to be served. It was these faithful servants of the people who appealed to the High Court of this fine democracy, overstepping the flighty and flimsy decision of the King, appealed to the law which reigns in place of a monarch in the Modern State of Israel, and received their redemption.
Lo and behold, the King's proclamation had been illegal and accordingly, could not stand. The issue was officially dead and life, as we know it, could resume. The official proclamation proclaiming that work must not take place on Shabbat was overturned and the King was left to gather his royal garment and limp back to the palace to lick his wounds.
And we all lived happily ever after. .......until next time.