By COLlive reporter
Willem-Alexander was sworn in as king of the Netherlands in a full day of celebrations that culminated in a water pageant, with the king sailing down Amsterdam’s River IJ, greeting the thousands of people lining the banks.
He became the country’s first king since 1980 after his 75-year-old mother Queen Beatrix signed the abdication deed earlier on Tuesday, concluding 33 years on the throne.
Three representative of the Jewish community participated in the national ceremony, among them the Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs of the Netherlands (IPOR communities) and director of Lubavitch of the Netherlands and Amsterdam’s Chief Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag.
“I am certain that the warm relationship that prevailed between the outgoing Queen Beatrix and the Jewish community will continue under the reign of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima,” Rabbi Jacobs stated.
Rabbi Jacobs, member of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE), says he was grateful to be able to recite the unique blessing for seeing royalty, “Blessed is He Who has apportioned His honor to human beings.”
On the eve of the coronation, a special ceremony was held in the ancient Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam which is lit only by candles. To honor the occasion, orange candles were lit, coordinating with the name and color of the Royal House of Orange.
During the ceremony, the head of the congregation took out 14 Torah scrolls, and a special prayer was said in honor of the coronation.
This prayer, recited by the Jewish community for hundreds of years as they prayed for the welfare of each generation of the Royal House of Holland, was distributed in both Hebrew and Dutch.
Holland’s rabbis have always adapted it to the prevailing circumstances, as they have in our times as well, under the leadership of Chief Rabbi Binyamin Jacobs. It will be recited in Dutch synagogues every Shabbos day during the Shachris morning services.
It reads, “May He Who grants salvation to kings and dominion to rulers; Whose Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; Who releases his servant David from the evil sword; Who places a path in the sea and a passageway in the mighty waters – may He bless, guard, protect, exalt, raise up and elevate the king Willem-Alexander, may his glory be magnified.”
In addition to mentioning the name of the king, the prayer for the welfare of King Willem-Alexander also refers to his wife, his daughters and his mother, the departing Queen Beatrix.
“May He bless… his wife the queen, and their daughter, next in line to the throne, along with the rest of their daughters, and Princess Beatrix the mother of the king, and the entire royal family, may their glory be exalted,” it says.
The prayer also includes a special petition for the Jewish community and its relationship with the royal family: “May the King of all kings, in His mercy, instill in the heart of the king and in the hearts of all his ministers and advisers a spirit of integrity and righteousness, that they may do that which is good for us and for all of Israel.”