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Blessing for a Queen


Rabbi Moshe Leib Halberstadt

Adar 16, 5772
There is a Bracha that one says when seeing a King. Is that applicable nowadays if one sees/meets the Queen in England? Also there is a custom to make a special Mi Sheberach for the Queen on Shabbat/Chaggim. Is it OK to make it even though the Queen is not really the ruler of the country but only a figurehead? Thanks.
I checked the custom in England with my friend Rabbi Shlomo Katankah Halevi from London UK and he replied: Here in England we say the Bracha and Tefilla, because in theory she can decide the laws, she still signs each law, and if she doesn't sign it is not a law. She has a meeting with the prime minister twice a week. The prayer is about the Queen and her advisers the government. Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch in his Responsa Teshuvot V'Hanhagot (Orach Chaim 2, 139) discusses whether one should recite the blessing "Shenatan Mikvodo" when seeing the President of the state of South Africa, etc. Rabbi Shternbuch writes that when the American President visited the Land of Israel, there was a disagreement among the rabbis whether one should recite the blessing of "Shenatan Mikvodo" or not. He notes that in his opinion one should not recite the blessing because the president's position is pending the decision of the House of Representatives over there which has the power to impeach him, and his authority is limited. It is not like the monarchy in England where even nowadays the Queen signs every new law and she is not replaced, but the kingship is hers for life and continues to her descendants, and her honor is like real royal honor. Even though in fact she does not interfere in the order of government nevertheless her signature is needed for every single law. The government draws its authority from her and the royal honor did not lessen at all over the generations.
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