Day 7, April 22: The Malkut in Hesed

Malchut literally means “kingship” or “majesty,” from the Hebrew root mem-lamed-khaf. It thus denotes power or ability. And so we stand on the threshold of the 7th day of counting: Malkhut she’b’Hesed. So how is power wedded to loving kindness?

That said, it’s worth noting that in spite of the obvious, male connotations of Malkhut in the sense of “sovereignty” or “kingship,” it is also identified in Kabbalah with The Shekhinah, the feminine, indwelling presence of God! In fact, as the various sefirot are mapped onto the human form in Kabbalah, Yesod (yesterday’s pairing with Hesed) is associated with the male genitals,
and Malkhut with the female genitals.) So, incidentally, when on Friday night we sing the kabbalistic hymn L’cha Dodi likrat kallah (Come, Friend, to greet the Bride), we are singing about the time when the masculine (Yesod or Kudsha B’rich Hu) and feminine (Malchut) aspects of God will be united in joy in the messianic time or World To Come.
“Well, that’s really mystical and trippy and all,” I hear you say. “But what’s the take-away for our Omer practice?”
Good question.
An effective king has power throughout their realm and can get things done. (With a shout-out to Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the king says, “Make it so,” and it is.) I like the idea that Malchut/Shekhinah represents pervasiveness or omnipresence, so that the 7th day of the Omer can be an opportunity to see how our love and connectedness function in every relationship in our lives. Gavriel Goldfeder expresses it like this:

[...] The ideal of Malchut is a sovereign whose will is manifest without obstacle in all corners of the kingdom. There are no obstacles between will and expression. If I can bring Hesed to all the relationships that constitute my world, I have established Malkhut of Hesed.”

He aptly points out that with some people, manifesting Hesed will be easier than with others, so this day of the Omer is a chance to work with that.

Practice: Try seeing the humanity of someone you’re not close with, perhaps even someone you find difficult. How does that feel?

And keep posting. Winking

Rabbi Steve Folberg
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