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Malchut & the Feminine, pt. 1

by Mrs. Chana Weisberg

www.kabbalaonline.org

  

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Malchut, portrayed by the hei of Havayah, represents the feminine sphere that is directed inward. In contrast, the six emotive sefirot, or the vav of Havayah, represent the six outward modes of direction in a three dimensional world of north-south, east-west, up-down and represent the masculine modes of extension. As such, these six sefirot also represent the six days of the creation and the six days of the week, excluding the feminine day of Shabbat.

Malchut, the last sefirah that manifests itself in this world, represents the feminine, harmonious Shabbat. Unlike the six sefirot whose direction is outward, it represents the internal, inner mode. It is the axis or focal point at the center of the six directions.

While the masculine quality is characterized by a flurry of activity, malchut and the feminine represent the state of being.

As the six days of the week represent the six emotive, masculine sefirot, the Shabbat represents malchut.1 Internal, inner-bound, it is the center that draws all six points together. The Shabbat, representing the feminine malchut, is appropriately called Shabbat Hamalkah, the Shabbat Queen.

During the six days of the week we are busy doing and accomplishing, but on Shabbat we channel and direct the blessing into all our activities. The feminine Shabbat is, thus, the unifying and harmonizing force that absorbs spirituality from the six masculine days of the week.2

Man does, while woman is
On Shabbat, we are no longer in a state of activity of creation, but in a state of rest, absorbing and directing the blessing from the whole week. For this reason, Shabbat is called the "source of all blessing," causing the flow of blessing to suffuse all our spiritual and material needs from the past as well as the coming week.

So, too, in our physical world, a woman, as the representation of malchut, is the source of blessing for her home and her family. In her merit material and spiritual beneficence is drawn down for her family. Just like the feminine Shabbat, she directs and harmonizes blessing into her environment. As our sages note, "Blessing only comes to a man's household for the sake of his wife."3

Furthermore, man accomplishes his mission through his various activities. Woman, on the other hand, is in a state of being. Man does, while woman is. And, like the sefirah of malchut, through her being, woman directs the flow of divine light into her world.

Malchut as the Feminine Womb

In Kabbalistic terminology the human body is used as a paradigm to depict the functions of each of the sefirot.4 For example, chesed, gratuitous and unlimited benevolence, is depicted by the right hand, while the left hand depicts gevurah, severity or restraint. Malchut is likened to the female womb.

Malchut exerts no influence of its own, per se, since it is the last and "lowest" of the ten Sefirot, which "has nothing of its own other than what the other sefirot pour into it."5  Malchut receives the light of all the other sefirot and channels and directs a united light into the world, harmonizing all of the diverse attributes of the other sefirot within it and projecting the sefirot downward into creation.

Malchut, then, is the connecting link. The divine emanations and attributes are forged together to project a focused light into our functional world.

Accordingly, malchut cannot have any characteristic or definition of its own in order to enable it to unify and project the other lights downward into our world. Would it possess its own characteristics, they would inhibit the processing of other characteristics. For example, the characteristic of severity is antagonistic to, and thus precludes, the characteristic of mercy. Therefore, malchut has no unique, individual characteristic so that it may encompass all the sefirot within it to project a more balanced light into the world.

Nevertheless, malchut is the very instrument through which the entire creative plan comes into being. Therefore "nothing occurs among the lower beings unless it be through malchut,"6  which is referred to as the "architect through which the whole creation was made."7  

Footnotes

  • 1. Sefer Yetzira 1:5.
  • 2. See for example Igeret Hakodesh, ch. 26, where it is explained that on Shabbat it is a duty to eat "all delightful things" and to consume meat and wine ( Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 250:2) since the Kelipat Noga itself is elevated along with the chitzoniyut of all the worlds.
  • 3. Baba Metzia 59a.
  • 4. See Gen. 1:27 where man's creation is described as "in the image of G-d."
  • 5. Etz Chaim 6:5, 8:5.
  • 6. Tikunei Zohar 19:40b and Zohar Chadash, 11a.
  • 7. Pardes Rimonim, 11:2.

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