It is now the beginning of the 7th week as we count up to Shavuot and this week is Malchut.
The definition of Malchut is sovereignty. The opposite of a slave is the Pharoh—the master. Of course, our journey on this path of spiritual growth is not about transforming the slave into the master—it is rather mastery over the slave mentality. Rabbi Jacobson looks at Malchut as nobility –sovereignty and defines it as “a sense of belonging, of knowing you matter and make a difference.” Rabbi Kantrowitz explains Malchut as receiving—“recognizing our progress as we move to our spiritual harvest.” She compares Malchut to the Sabbath (7th day = 7th week) as a time for contemplation. Both Jacobson and Kantrowitz point to Malchut as a state of being.
We will take a different approach—seeing Malchut as manifestation—a time of doing! We are still counting, actively living each day and now ready to reveal our mastery over the change that brings us to freedom. The resting or being is on the day that “counts itself’—Shavuot—the night followed by day that is not the culmination but rather the beginning of being in our new state of awareness.
Our way of looking at the Sefirot flow has been the creation of a plan for change (this could be seen as a material or spiritual change—but the move is to freedom). Malchut then is actualizing our determination to change. The past week of Yesod was a shedding of doubt—we have overcome Amalek (doubt) and can see the ‘destination’, we will be encamping—surrounding and surrounded by the mountain—the place of revelation. In following our own journeys of freeing ourselves from ‘enslavement’ we also reflect on where the Israelites are on their journey toward Sinai. They arrive in the Sinai desert at the outset of the week. On day 47 they camp as one.
In addition to meaning manifestation or expression, Malchut also implies responsibility. The slave has no ‘responsibility’ as an inner sense—it is purely the command of the master. In the most trying depths of slavery there can be no sense of loyalty to others, no sense of responsibility for the other. The free person though knows that work on the self is also for the good of the whole—the good of the community. This idea is beautifully expressed by the notion that the Jews encamped around Sinai “as one person with one heart.” It is one for all and all for one.