Royal Messages: The Hearts of Kings
“The honor of the Lord is a hidden thing, but the honor of kings may be searched out. The highest heavens, the deepest earth, and the heart of kings cannot be fathomed.” Proverbs 25:2-3
We can examine and even comprehend the glory of kings, but not their hearts.
We cannot comprehend the glory of the Lord. The Vilna Gaon explains, based on the Talmud (Chagigah) and Midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 9:1) that the ” glory of the Lord” refers to the creation story, which may only be studied with one student at a time. The “glory of kings” refers to the stories beginning with Genesis 5:1: “This is the book of the generations of man”, who are described in this verse as kings because of their potential greatness.
It is striking to recall a verse that describes human beings as royalty during this month of Elul, in which we prepare for the Coronation.
Jewish law takes this so seriously that we are granted the status of royalty on Shabbat: we are permitted to have elephants as pets.
Our status will change on Rosh Hashana. We are the children of the King. Although we cannot comprehend the “glory of the Lord”, we can and must examine the “glory of the kings”, our glory as royalty: how are we using it? Do we merit the status?
Yet, “the heart of kings” is beyond our ken. Our hearts are compared to the highest heavens and the deepest earth. We cannot fully understand how our hearts function, because, as the Gra continues, our hearts, when we act as kings, are boundless.
It is worthwhile to recall that if we truly believe that we are as royalty, we must act as royalty and treat others with the respect due to royalty.
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