President Trump attended an Orthodox Jewish fundraising event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Manhattan on Tuesday evening. Four hundred Orthodox Jews participated in the event, contributing an estimated $100,000 each for the honor of paying a personal tribute to the Commander-in-Chief.
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson recited the blessing said upon seeing a non-Jewish ruler.
ברוך אתה ה’ אלוקינו מלך העולם שחלק מכבודו לבשר ודם
Blessed art Thou, O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, that you have shared part of your love and glory and compassion with a human being who maintains the honor of every innocent person and every Jew forever.”
Though it is doubtful that the president understood the full import of the blessing, Trump appeared to be impressed at the ritual focused on his honor.
The Talmud states that it is a mitzvah (Torah commandment) for a Jew to go out of his way to see rulers and kings, whether they are Jewish or non-Jewish but there is a dispute among Halachic (Torah law) authorities as to whether this blessing should be recited with the complete name of God in these times upon seeing a ruler who is not a king.
It is significant that when the rabbi recited the blessing upon seeing Donald Trump, he said the complete and explicit name of God in Hebrew.
“Every rabbi can make his own ruling and Chabad has their own methods and rulings. But what is for sure is that Halacha is not influenced by political considerations,” Rabbi Kahana explained to Breaking Israel News. “It is like science and should be the result of careful consideration of the facts and the current situation.”
“The blessing is intended to be recited upon seeing a king and there are significant differences between a president and a king. As we are witnessing right now, a president can be impeached as the result of political whims. A king cannot be impeached. “
“This is learned out from the real king, Hashem (God, literally ‘the name’), which is the source of the king’s authority. Hashem’s authority is not derived from other men. He cannot be impeached and we don’t vote for God.”
Nonetheless, Rabbi Kahana emphasized that Trump deserves a great deal of respect for his service as president.