of malchut: sefirat haShavua 7

“from afar G’d appears to me”

this is the classic statement of the exile of the Shechinah, the Divine Presence in feminine aspect, as envesseled in the sefirah of malchut. the prophet Jeremiah (31:2) describes the surviving remnant of Isarael, after being driven back into the “wilderness” to wander in Babylonian exile, much as they did when first liberated from Mitzrayim–where also many of them went in exile. the talk in chapter 31, however, is about the coming time of reunification in the Land and the redemption.

but this is the core of malchut, for malchut is separated from the rest of the Etz Chaim, the sephirotic tree of life. it is part of no triad and extends connection only to yesod. and like yesod, malchut is strongly associated with procreative powers, save malchut, being entirely feminine, is associated with nukva, the female procreative organs, symbolized particularly the labia.

and sort of like a mom, malchut is ever receiving whatever from the rough and tumble masculine sefirot between chesed and yesod….though it is important to remember that malchut receives only from yesod directly, so all is filtered thereby.

malchut feels the weight of exile, of difference, of being furthest away from keter in the tree. and yet it is with her that we experience sovereignty, nobility, and kingdom. and malchut is associated with the world of speech, Shechinah wears the garment of dibur (‘speech’),  by which sovereignty is exercised. we should recall that the root of malchut also means “council”, and it is theresulting  counsel of inner wisdom (Psalm 51) that malchut offers as its way of sovereignty in speech.

“You desire emet (‘truth’) in the inward parts;

make me know chochmah (‘wisdom’) in my inmost place”

in that dual meaning of lips, portal of speech and procreation, malchut comes to association with G’d’s gate (as we sing Psalm 118 in the second verse of pitchu li):

“this is the gate that belongs to G’d,

the gate the upright enter”

but that gate is very far from the throne to which it leads. and the spiritual state that is associated with the earth-bound malchut is shiflut (‘lowliness’). not lowliness in the sense of degraded, but lowliness in the sense of exiled…..lowly in the distance between Creation and the All of G’d, for though all is pervaded by G’d, the earth is nonetheless but a footstool for G’d. distance…and a feeling of absence….made even stronger by the effort to get closer, until significant rectification is made. the baal t’shuvah (‘master of repentance’) is entering the gate in a position of shiflut.

so how do we reconcile lowliness/distance from G’d with sovereignty, nobility and kingdom. well, we turn to the great King David who was also Baal T’shuvah throughout his life. he gives us a pair of verses (Psalm 51:5Psalm 16:8) to work with:

 “my sin is before me always”  &  “i place G’d before me always”

so “my sin” to the left is equal in expression to “i place G’d” to the right.  i’ve cast it in the sefirotic left and right deliberately. let’s align them with their mate phrases from Jeremiah and i think you will begin to see what is going on in malchut:

 “my sin is before me always”  &  “i place G’d before me always”

“from afar”                         &         “G’d appears to me”

lowliness           &                   mercy

this is the state of the person doing t’shuvah, right? in full awareness of his/her own sin while in full awareness that G’d’s mercy will come forth with true return. both are known….both are fully before the baal t’shuvah. and it is the nature of true t’shuvah for it to linger….”before me always”.  we experience G’d’s infinite compassion not in forgetting our sin, but in remembering it!  we gain the sovereignty of the “inner counsel of wisdom, reconciling our sin with G’d’s merciful compassion. we know G’d’s closeness best when we also know how far we are away in our actions.

and malchut harbors both equally, for it actually has its own inner triad. the left and right are laid out above, what comes to blend them synergetically into what is greater than either part?

“this is G’d’s gate, the gate the upright enter”

malchut is like a yichud (‘unifying’) stargate running straight to G’d for those who genuinely return. it is what Jeremiah is saying…..the paradoxical truth that distance (exile) makes the heart grow fonder…..

“when i find myself in times of trouble, mother Shechinah comes to me

speaking words of wisdom, let it be

and when the broken-hearted People living in the world agree

there will be an answer, let it be”

t’shuvah is G’d’s gate, in malchut of the tree, and we’ve been working for 42 (of course, kabbalistas!) days to get rectified enough to do our final week of interinclusions in the womb of repentance…..jump into the sea of the Torah.

so, what do you think?

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