What’s the first thing you do when you are cruising along the canals of Amsterdam and suddenly come face to face with the King of Holland? And what is the second thing you do?
Traveling brings with it the opportunity to fulfill obscure and less commonly known aspects of Halacha (Jewish Law). Only when you leave your comfort zone and familiar surroundings, do you get the chance to stretch your religious boundaries too.
Blessing on Seeing a King
One of the less known Laws is the Blessing that is made upon seeing a King or Queen. We say Baruch Ata A-donai E-loheinu Melekh Ha’Olam Shenatan Mikvodo L’Basar Vadam. (Blessed are You God, King of the universe, who has given of His honor to flesh and blood).
It is interesting to note that this blessing was established not to show respect to a gentile monarch, but rather to make us aware what royal honor is like, so that we’ll be in a better position to appreciate the true divinely given honor of the Messianic King (descendant of King David) at the end of the days.
Just to be politically (and factually) correct, I must emphasize that one makes the blessing for both male and female monarchs, on condition that they are the “ruling” monarch. This means you’ll make a blessing for the queen as long as she’s not merely Mrs. King. Similarly you won’t make the blessing for a man who’s only a Mr. Queen (like Prince Philip husband of Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom).
Furthermore, the blessing is made only once in 30 days, so if you happen to meet the King twice or more in one month (lets say you’re his personal valet or such), you’ll only make the blessing the 1st time you meet. On the other hand if you meet a different monarch in the same month, you can say the blessing again.
In addition, one also says the blessing upon meeting the president of a country, as long as he or she has the power to grant a pardon to a person who has been sentenced to death (Howdy Mr. Obama!). Prime ministers usually don’t count for this (sorry Mr. Netanyahu…).
Monarch Blessing List
I’m not suggesting that you do an around-the-world tour of all the royal families just to keep on saying blessings, but if you can get it done once in a while, it would certainly be nice.
To make things easier for you while planning your grand blessing tour, here is an up-to-date listing of the primary world monarchs. I might have missed out a few minor ones in out-of-the-way 3rd & 4th world countries, but it’s also less likely you’ll meet them.
|Andorra||HE Joan Enric Vives Sicília||2003||Constitutional||Ex officio|
|Andorra||HE François Hollande||2012||Constitutional||Ex officio|
|Antigua and Barbuda||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1981||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Australia||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1952||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Bahamas||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1973||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Bahrain||HM King Hamad ibn Isa||1999||Mixed||Hereditary|
|Barbados||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1966||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Belgium||HM King Philippe||2013||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Belize||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1981||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Bhutan||HM King Jigme Khesar Namgyel||2006||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Brunei||HM Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah||1967||Absolute||Hereditary|
|Cambodia||HM King Norodom Sihamoni||2004||Constitutional||Hereditary and elective|
|Canada||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1952||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Denmark||HM Queen Margrethe II||1972||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Grenada||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1974||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Jamaica||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1962||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Japan||HIM Emperor Akihito||1989||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Jordan||HM King Abdullah II||1999||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Kuwait||HH Emir Sabah al-Ahmad||2006||Constitutional||Hereditary and elective|
|Lesotho||HM King Letsie III||1996||Constitutional||Hereditary and elective|
|Liechtenstein||HSH Prince Hans-Adam II||1989||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Luxembourg||HRH Grand Duke Henri||2000||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Malaysia||HM King Abdul Halim||2011||Constitutional||Hereditary and rotational|
|Monaco||HSH Prince Albert II||2005||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Morocco||HM King Mohammed VI||1999||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Netherlands||HM King Willem-Alexander||2013||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|New Zealand||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1952||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Norway||HM King Harald V||1991||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Oman||HM Sultan Qaboos bin Said||1970||Absolute||Hereditary|
|Papua New Guinea||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1975||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Qatar||HH Emir Tamim bin Hamad||2013||Absolute||Hereditary|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1983||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Saint Lucia||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1979||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1979||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Saudi Arabia||CTHM King Abdullah bin Abdul‘aziz||2005||Absolute||Hereditary and elective|
|Solomon Islands||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1978||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Spain||HM King Juan Carlos I||1975||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Swaziland||HM King Mswati III||1986||Absolute||Hereditary and elective|
|Sweden||HM King Carl XVI Gustaf||1973||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Thailand||HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej||1946||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Tonga||HM King Tupou VI||2012||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Tuvalu||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1978||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|United Arab Emirates||HH President Khalifa bin Zayed||2004||Mixed||Elective and hereditary|
|United Kingdom||HM Queen Elizabeth II||1952||Constitutional||Hereditary|
|Vatican City||HH Pope Francis||2013||Absolute||Ex officio|
As for the questions I asked at the beginning of the post…you first say to them; “Hello Your Majesty !”.
Then you recite the relevant Blessing…