Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Feminine Role in Establishing True Kingdom

Haftorat Korach
The First Book of Shemuel 11:14-12:22
Printable Version

Today no less than all previous generations we are struggling about establishing true Jewish leadership for our nation, Israel. I wonder how many Korach’s we have to go through before we will reach the true Malchut –(Kingdom of Israel). Read on to learn about the feminine role in establishing true Kingdom manifesting Hashem’s Kingdom on Earth.

The Connection between the Haftorah and the Torah Reading
This week’s haftorah describes the coronation of the first king of Israel. The Jewish people had requested from their leader Shemuel to appoint a king, and in our haftorah, Shemuel the prophet fulfills their request. Shemuel himself is actually a descendant of Korach, and he rectifies him through his humility and righteousness. In the haftorah, Shemuel addresses the Jewish people and verifies about his personal integrity in leading them: “Here I am; bear witness against me before G-d and before His anointed; whose ox did I take, or whose ass did I take, or whom did I rob; or whom did I oppress, or from whose hand did I take a bribe...” (1 Shemuel 12:3). This echoes Moshe’s statement in this week’s parasha: “I have not taken a donkey from a single one of them, and I have not harmed a single one of them.” Shemuel is compared to Moshe and Aharon in greatness as it states: “Moshe and Aharon among His Kohanim, and Shemuel upon those who call upon His name; they called upon Hashem and He answered them” (Tehillim 99:6). Just as Moshe and Aharon were chosen by Hashem to lead the Jewish people so was Shemuel. Hashem perpetually prepares for the Jewish people the leader suitable for each generation (Yalkut Shimoni, 1 Shemuel 12:114). Both the haftorah and the Torah reading concern the leadership and kingdom of Israel. Moshe was Israel’s natural leader, having delivered the Jewish people from the slavery of Egypt, being the most humble of all men; he was the channel that reflected Israel on the deepest level. Korach, on the other hand, wanted to impose his rulers-hip upon the people from the outside. Being very distinguished and full of pride, he was unfit to properly reflect the kingdom of Israel.

The King of Israel – Israel’s Inner Expression
When the Jewish people asked Shemuel for a king, they were repeating Korach’s mistake on a much more refined level. In our haftorah, Shemuel rebukes the people for asking for a king: “For your evil is great in the eyes of Hashem, to ask a king for yourselves (ibid. 12:17). The people accept the admonishment, they recognized their liability, and requested that Shemuel pray that Hashem forgive them “All the people said to Shemuel, pray for your servants to Hashem your G-d, that we die not: for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for a king for ourselves” (ibid 19). What was wrong with requesting a king? After all it is a mitzvah to appoint a king in Israel as it states: “You shall surely set up a king over you…” (Devarim 17:15). Rabbi Mattis Weinberg explains that the fault was, how the people asked for a king to be appointed from above, rather than appointing a king themselves from within. The true king of Israel “must be a manifestation of the society itself, and cannot be imposed from above – even at the people’s request. Only by appointing him as a part of the natural flow of events from within the society as happened with David – can he be a melech (king).” As long as the king is not the manifestation of the inner expression of the people of Israel, then he is a little bit like Korach who desired to impose his ruler-ship upon the people from the outside.

Malchut – The Feminine Inner Expression
The true Jewish king resembles a woman in many ways. Both are required to become a pure channel to unify and manifest the characteristics of hence the Jewish people, hence the Jewish home. Malchut, the last sefirah, represents the feminine sphere directed inward towards the internal inner mode. This is contrasted with the six middle masculine sefirot that represent the six outward directions of extension, east-west, north-south up and down. Malchut is the internal, inner-bound feminine Shabbat – the center that draws all six days of the week together. Shabbat is called "source of all blessing" (see for example Likutei Moharan Mahadura Kama 31), because it absorbs spirituality from the six masculine days of the week, channeling, harmonizing and directing their blessing into the activities of the coming week. In order to serve as the connecting, unifying link, encompassing all of the sefirot within it, malchut cannot have any characteristic or definition of its own. Yet, that doesn’t make the feminine focused light of malchut less powerful, as nothing occurs among the lower beings unless it goes through malchut," (Tikunei Zohar 19:40b, Zohar Chadash, 11a). In the same way no person is born without passing through the open, caring, nurturing, loving motherly womb.

Overcoming Outwardly Directed Sense of Self through Quintessential Inwardness
To manifest malchut physiologically women develop and expand the seed from potential into actuality. Spiritually, too, women nurture the flash of spirituality from its external, outward appearance, directing it inward into her home and environment. Chana Weisberg explains that women are called "bat melech” – daughters of royalty, because we are defined by quintessential inwardness, which is our entire source of honor, and praise. In order to nurture our predisposition to receive, we must overcome any strongly expressed, outwardly directed sense of self, which could block or interfere with receiving, and directing spirituality into our environment. Likewise, King David, the personification of human royalty was the epitome of humility, calling himself “a worm and not a man”(Tehillim 22:7). He realized that he had nothing of his own. His entire grandeur was truly an undeserved gift received from Hashem. The ultimate purpose and fruition of Creation is actualized only through the final sefirah, malchut. For only through malchut is Hashem’s original Divine intent to establish a relationship with physical beings in the lower world accomplished. In the six days of Creation, woman was created last, because she represents the ultimate purpose of Creation. Only through woman and her feminine attributes of malchut, will the world actualize its mission and receive final completion when "G-d will be King over all Creation…" (Zechariah 14:9).

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