In case you spent your Passover vacation on another planet – and decided to stay there – you may have missed the wedding of Prince William of Wales and Catherine (Kate) Middleton at Westminster Abbey on Friday April 29, 2011.
If the fashion police analyzed my every clothing choice, I wouldn’t fare too well either.
As an Englishman in New York, I’m obviously interested in the nuptials of Prince William, who is second in the line of succession to Queen Elizabeth II. Like everybody, I remember where I was when his mother was tragically killed (Jerusalem), and I’ve grown up with him. Yet, I did not watch the royal wedding, and that has nothing to do with the fact that my invitation may have gotten lost somewhere over the pond.
While Prince William and Kate have personally approved a list of memorabilia, including official mugs, plates, biscuit tins and porcelain pill pots, tea-towels and, of course, the official china, I’m not buying into it, literally.
The wedding hysteria and celebrity publicity hoopla surrounding the wedding is at a boiling point, and as the world agonized over the dress, cake and honeymoon, I was serving my own Queen, as we prepared Shabbat Dinner for 50 guests in our Jewish community center.
I vaguely remember the royal wedding of Charles and Diana and not so vaguely remember how Camelot fell in the intervening years. With respect to the House of Windsor, they do have a disastrous record when it comes to nuptials.
Let’s face it—what does one expect in a world of texts and tweets, and celebrity fascination? If the fashion police were to analyze my every clothing choice, I don’t think I would fare too well either.
Interestingly, in a few weeks, Jews around the world will celebrate the holiday of Shavuot. The Talmud describes Shavuot, the day marking the giving of the Torah, as resembling a wedding between the Almighty and the Jewish people. The Almighty as the groom and the Jewish people as the bride; Mount Sinai represents the wedding canopy and the Torah the ring on His bride's finger. Each year on Shavuot we renew our nuptial vows to our Beloved Creator as the word "Shavuot" has the same root as the Hebrew word "shevuah"—an oath.
In a Jewish wedding, after the ceremony, the bride and groom adjourn to a private room called the "yichud" (private) room. The few minutes the couple share alone allude to their new intimate relationship and emphasizes that their absolute privacy be respected.
This is something our dear young royals so badly need.
So if I could give a gift to my dear royals, it would be what Jewish tradition values for young couples in their first year of marriage – privacy. And that’s why I didn’t watch the wedding. While I know it didn’t make much of a difference, I didn’t want another set of prying eyes watching them. Instead, I will just say what my ancestors have been saying for thousands of years at times like this:“Mazal Tov!”