King Charles III's halachic gesture towards UK’s Chief Rabbi

As King Charles takes up royal duties, he is scheduled to meet British Cheif Rabi Ephraim Mirvis. In a thoughtful gesture, the royal palace moved the meeting to avoid any violation of Shabat laws.

 Queen Camilla and Britain's King Charles attend the Accession Council at St James's Palace, where he is formally proclaimed Britain's new monarch, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Britain September 10, 2022. (photo credit: VICTORIA JONES/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Queen Camilla and Britain's King Charles attend the Accession Council at St James's Palace, where he is formally proclaimed Britain's new monarch, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Britain September 10, 2022.
(photo credit: VICTORIA JONES/POOL VIA REUTERS)

A special meeting of senior British faith leaders with King Charles III will take place earlier than planned, due to the fact that it was meant to occur close to the entrance of the Shabbat - a fact that would mean that Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis won’t be able to participate.

King Charles is due to participate in a long list of events commemorating his late mother Queen Elizabeth II. According to The Guardian, as the Prince of Wales, he will travel by helicopter to Wales on Friday with his wife Camilla, and later on will travel to Llandaff Cathedral “for a service of prayer and reflection,” according to The Guardian. When he returns to Buckingham Palace, the King is expected to host faith leaders.

The Jerusalem Post has learned that the event was supposed to take place at 6:00 p.m. while the Shabbat begins at 6:50. According to the halacha (Jewish law), travel isn’t allowed once the Sun sets Friday evening till Saturday night.

Representatives from the palace have contacted the Chief Rabbi’s office and informed them that the event was expected to take place too close to the entrance of Shabbat - and therefore they decided on their own, to make the event an hour earlier, at 5:00 p.m. The Rabbi’s staff were astounded by what they called “an amazing gesture,” made by the King and his staff. 

Even though the event will take place earlier than planned, the Rabbi will immediately need to leave the event, in order to try and pave his way through the heavy Friday traffic, to his home in North London.

Britain's chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (credit: TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS)Britain's chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (credit: TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS)

The Post has learned that Mirvis is expected to be the only Rabbi that will participate in this event and therefore it is even more astounding that they changed the entire schedule for him. 

Why does King Charles III meet with Rabi Mirvis?

It is part of the royal protocol for the Monarch to meet with faith leaders in this type of situation and the staff of the Chief Rabbi were a bit concerned when they heard it was planned to be on Friday. Members of Rabbi Mirvis’s team wouldn’t speak on record, but have approved these facts and details. 

They were astounded by the fact that without them having to complain or ask for consideration, the palace staff said that the timing may “potentially be problematic for the Chief Rabbi because of the proximity to Shabbat,” and that “we want the Rabbi to be able to get back home before Shabbat begins.”