Examine Your Life
Question 37: How can my friend be my king?

   Rabbi Schwartz :
In truth, all kingship belongs to the Creator of all, "For to Hashem is kingship, and He rules nations"**. Once He created us in His image, we too contain the quality of being kings, every one of us. It follows then that we must treat our friends as kings.

Still, while we treat them as kings, we need not regard ourselves as less them. We likewise, are kings. At the same time though, we are not superior to them either.

We understand that when two kings, presidents, prime ministers, etc. meet, neither holds himself as higher than the other. The one might sense that he is more intelligent and learned than his counterpart, but he can never know whether he could match him in doing all that the other does. He suspects that the other leader has strengths and qualities beyond his grasp, hidden beneath his surface appearance. Thus, he would be stupid to treat him with anything less than respect and friendship. As such outward diplomacy is not enough. To connect effectively with the other, he must appreciate him with his inner feelings as well.

All of the above, we should apply to ourselves. To fulfill the Torah's advice of making our friend our king, not only for our success in relating to others, but ultimately, as the secret for ALL success, we must act no less than the leader of one nation interacting with another. We must make our friend a king over ourselves.

 * When a person comes to Divine Judgment, they ask him, "Did you make your friends a king over yourself with gentle conduct?" (Reishis Chochma, Shaar HaYirah, chapter 12)

** Tehillim 22:29


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