“be gracious to me, G’d, according to Your Chesed (‘mercy’)”
Psalm 51, as we saw in “of malchut: sefirat haShavua 7” in the Spirit Guide to the Weeks menu, is a great psalm of repentance. it is the call of the sinner in full, weighty realization of sin and the distancing that it causes that summons G’d’s grace according to the infinite flow of compassion.
chesed in malchut is a doubling of the action of G’d in the world, for within malchut is interincluded the repentance “triad”…..both sin and chesed work before G’d’s gate of repentance.
this interinclusion advances responsibility over fear. we are responsible over our personal realm–indeed, r’ Nachman of Breslov goes so far as to say that each of us has our own “kingdom” or malchut, which is sometimes revealed to us, sometimes hidden, maybe vast or maybe limited, but over which we have responsibility for. and the mitzvot related to this realm are ours to do, the traits associated with our malchut, ours to exemplify in the Creation.
and we must do what sovereigns do in that realm: provide for and defend all subject to our sphere of responsibility. so when we fail in this, we must do powerful repentance not only for our own sake, but for the sake of all within our personal kingdom within Creation. all of it depends on our t’shuvah.
loving-kindness is the way of the provider and caretaker. we all need it in spades in our realms, but we can obtain it only as a flow from G’d. hence we ask for it as grace, for we all know that we are not yet rectified in ourselves, let alone in the realms over which we are given sway.
the Shechinah, the symbol figure of Divine Presence in Creation, integrates immanent and transcendent aspects of the Divine. and we follow in that way, for whenever we exile ourselves from the transcendent Divine, we count on the gate that is the immanent Divine to get ourselves back “to the Garden”:
“in every exile into which the Children of Israel went, the Shechinah was with them”
so teaches Talmud (Megillah 29a). so in every distancing we do, the Shechinah that is malchut brings the gateway to return in G’d’s chesed. the master of malchut and repentance, King David, puts it like so:
“turn to me and be gracious, for I am alone and afflicted”
as is every exile. this is the very state of malchut…always crying out for chesed. this recognition sorta puts puts an entirely different kabbalistic spin on a badly misused verse of our Psalm 51…consider verse 7:
“i was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me”
i have heard this verse used time and againg to “justify” the idea of original sin and sin in the act of sexual intercourse. sigh. let’s consider it in the light of chesed in malchut and see what the deeper meaning is.
malchut is the state of being in sin AND knowing G’d’s Presence. it is the gate through which the upright pass to access G’d’s chesed in repentance. the mother is malchut, the Shechinah, the feminine sefirah and figurative nukva (female sex organs). in repentance, we are brought forth out of our sin, and born out of the gateway the mother sefirah of Divine Presence provides, thus is each of us reborn in chesed in malchut, coming out of shiflut (‘lowliness’…hebrew shefel root is ‘low tide’) of sin and returning to the geut (‘high tide’) of repentant rebirth in closeness to G’d. no more in exile.
“o G’d, open You my lips, and my mouth will declare Your Praise”
mussar for chesed she b’malchut
with another….bein adam l’chaveiro r’ Haber very rightly points out that when you realized that everyone has a realm of responsibility in Creation, you begin to see everyone more richly. even those with work that seems somehow “lesser” we know that Divine Presence can and probably does work within the doer….and perhaps in the doing, so be thankful for the folks who tend to the “lesser” things….the garbagemen, the mail carriers, the streets & sanitation crews, the burger flippers (just remember kashrut!).
with yourself….bein adam l’atzmo you too have a realm to attend to. in the taking responsibility for it, including all the inclusive mitzvot that apply within it, you are extending G’d’s realm of chesed.
kabbalah for chesed she b’malchut
in assiyah….the world of doing/completion we go about blithing exiling ourselves from G’d daily, alas. we are very given to distraction and seem to feed it increasingly daily. we are often like King David, alone and afflicted, feeling the weight of our misdoings and the distance they bring. but remember that the Shechinah is indwelling, ever present within striking distance of our hearts, ready to open the gates of repentance. meditate on your own indwelling soul’s relationship to higher worlds….and how you can relieve the exile of that soul from the Divine Root….
in yetzirah….the world of feeling/formation every ruler should be called wonderful counselor….if as r’Nachman says we each have our malchut realm to attend to how can you be a wonderful counselor to yourself? consider this.
in b’riyah….the world of thought/creation when 10 sit to study together, the Shechinah dwells amongst them. go get yourself a minyan with which to study in this last week of the Omer.
in atzilut….the world of nearness to G’d/intuition since we have entered the sabbath/seventh of the counting, consider how you can bring the chiyut (‘vibrancy, vitality’) of shabbat into your everyday activities this week. for chesed, meditate on an olam shalom (‘whole/peaceful world’). what could it be right now?
kinyan 43 of 48 ways to acquire Torah
Shomei’a u’Mosif…..Listening & Contributing. while we are prohibited to add or remove anything from Torah itself, in the study of Torah, which is also torah (learning/teaching), much can and should be considered. in this way we come to new understandings of what is already there, and it is in this spirit that the yeshiva system of pilpul in chevruta was devised (arguing points of Torah with a studymate, and arguing strongly), as we see in Shabbat 116b:
“i came not to destroy Torah, but to add to torah”