hazzan Diana Brewer was ordained through the aleph ordination program. she leads prayer services regularly at the jewish community of amherst, and is on the staff of the davvenen leadership training institute.

Day 43 חסד שבמלכות

Chesed SheBeMalchut. Love, Lovingkindness within Majesty, Dignity, Sovereignty, Leadership.

Malchut. What a wonderful thing. As I'm sure I've written before, Malchut is the result of the cumulative energy of the other six emotional Sefirot. As the weeks have passed, I have been very aware of this accumulation while exploring each Sefira in depth, looking at it in all its various combinations. Let's begin the walk into the final leg of our Omer journey with an exploration of Malchut, followed by today's special angle. 

Malchut - Majesty, Sovereignty, Dignity, Leadership. There is a sense of being at ease within oneself in Malchut. There is also the ability to influence our circumstances, to be leaders, while being able to perceive the needs of those around us in order to bring our leadership to maximal effect.  Sovereignty, the ability to stand on one's own feet as an autonomous agent is also included. In Malchut, we have Dignity, the secure knowledge that we are "OK".

Malchut comes from the three letter root מלך, which is also the root of  the word meaning King. However, in the world of Jewish spirituality, the Sovereign is not a sole actor. Rabbi Marcia Prager, in her book The Path of Blessing, offers a wonderful, expanded look at the word Melech. She explains that Hebrew has two different words for the idea of a ruler - "sar" and "Melech". The sar is an autocrat, a dictator. The Melech is strictly bound to the counsel of a learned teacher of Torah, whose job it is to ensure the Melech is acting in accordance with G8d's laws. Rabbi Prager writes, "Torah requires a Melech to be instructed in Torah every night, particularly stressing those passages limiting the Melech's powers..." Melech is more of a conduit, an "interface" between his subjects and G8d. A Melech serves.

A sovereign without Chesed is a dictator, a sar rather than a Melech. With the outreaching arm of Chesed, we gather to us those who need our Leadership, our sure-footedness. We discern the ways in which we may appropriately lead. We bear in mind that the direction someone may need to go in is not necessarily the direction we think they need to go in. We offer Lovingkindness as we guide.

The Autonomy afforded us through Malchut, especially with Chesed contained within it, does not cut us off from others. It takes their needs into account, and can also guide them to a place of being able to launch in their own Autonomy. We provide Love as we demonstrate Dignity.

Today we can ask ourselves: Is my Sovereignty cutting me off from others? Does my Leadership come from a place of Lovingkindness? Am I reaching out to serve as a Leader rather than to be served or to impose unwanted direction?

For the abbreviated version, visit me on Twitter.

For a couple of different Omer counting guides try mishkan.org or chabad.org.

Day 44 גבורה שבמלכות

Day 42 מלכות שביסוד