No husband without a wife, nor wife without a husband. No king without a people. (Malchus Parts VI and VII)

“There is no king without a people.” -Ancient Rabbis
“Duh.” -Response of Modern skeptics

“Would this young man make a suitable husband for my daughter?”
“Well, he’s very studious.”
“He is not marrying a desk. He’s marrying a person.”

Of course there’s no king without a people!  It might sound like an obvious statement. After all, how many kings do you know that have no countries?  There’s the deposed King Constantine of Greece, over forty years now with no job, pining for his country, now a republic. There were more hanging around the world after WW1.

But what’s this really saying?

For one, the people who the king reigns over have to be other people. It’s not enough for it to be all family. A man who owns a large piece of land on which 1000 of descendants live is no king. He’s a rich patriarch. A man who owns a company that has thousands of employees is no king; he’s a CEO.

The point is that a king is only a king if people unrelated to him, not hired by him, recognize his authority. Individuals who are free to choose then choose freely to submit to his will.

Real unity, lasting political unity, meaning cohesion into a new emergent group, requires people with independent wills of their own to get along.

A person’s highest moral and ethical status is achieved when they can achieve a unity of purpose and action with other independent people who have their own convictions. Their own personality can stand, and not hinder the personality of the person or people they are joining.

It might be possible to achieve intellectual grandeur while secluded in a cave. But moral grandeur, surrender to the highest moral ideals must involve other people.

That is why the Talmud says that Torah learned alone leads to destruction.  Torah must involve other people.


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