Printed from kabbalaonline.org
Part Two on the Kabbala of Femininity

Malchut and the Feminine - Part 2

Malchut and the Feminine - Part 2

 Email
Malchut and the Feminine - Part 2
Part Two on the Kabbala of Femininity

Malchut as Speech & Communication

Speech has also been used to depict the concept of the feminine malchut.* Through speech or the "Ten Utterances" of G‑d, Creation came into being, enabling G‑d's sovereignty to be felt by seemingly distinct created beings. Through this speech, the "hidden worlds" evolved into revealed worlds with the creation of physical reality.

[*See for example Iggeret Hakodesh, Ch. 26 quoting Introduction to Tikunim 17a which states: "Malchut, that is the Mouth and we call it the Oral Torah."]

So, too, malchut channels and elicits the original illumination (represented b the yud), its elaboration and development (represented by the first hei and its implementation through the various attributes (represented by the vav) into actuality (represented by the final hei). Men report while women rapport…

Interestingly, on a sociological and psychological level, women, representing the feminine malchut generally excel in the domain of speech and communication. It has been noted how men report while women rapport, developing the ideas and original dry information as they elaborate, convey understanding and relate it to one another. Thus, the power to communicate, to nurture and to empathize are all areas in which women, as the feminine representation of the sefira of malchut excel.

Furthermore, as Creation continues to evolve towards its ultimate intent, when G‑d's sovereignty will be felt over all of Creation, in the Era of Redemption, the sphere and qualities of malchut become increasingly more dominant.

Interestingly, in our own day and age, as we approach this era, these feminine qualities of empathy, nurturing and team playing, or otherwise termed "soft skills", are becoming more and more sought after and appreciated by men and women. This holds true in the work force as well as in interpersonal relationships.

The ideal male is no longer the commanding, hard, goal-driven individual, but has, rather, absorbed the traditionally feminine qualities of sensitivity, supportiveness, communication and empathy.

Malchut as Mitzvot & the Woman of Valor

The vav of Havayah and its masculine mode represent Torah study. Malchut and the feminine mode represent the concept of the mitzvot, which elicit the divine will into this physical world by utilizing and consecrating the physical aspects of reality.

While the effects of Torah study remain in the realm of thought and the masculine domain of the vav, mitzvot bring that divine thought down into our world through actual practice. The Thought thus becomes transformed into the Will. As the divine will becomes a part of our Creation, even the most mundane, material aspects of Creation are utilized for G‑d's will. Cast not off the teaching of your mother…

That is how, for example, a crude piece of animal hide can become holy, as it is made into parchment for a Torah, mezuzah or tefillin scroll. Similarly, food becomes elevated when used to celebrate Shabbat, the holidays, or even when a blessing is said over it, or when the energy derived from its consumption is utilized for the performance of mitzvot. This principle holds true for all mitzvot, since they are performed specifically with physical objects, or our physical bodies.

While men, as the vav, are associated with the domain of Torah study, women as the hei of malchut are associated with the domain of mitzvot. Though she is obligated to study Torah, and though man is commanded to perform mitzvot, each is represented by their respective, primary domains. For a woman, the abstract knowledge gains relevance and become translated into practice within the realm of her home and environment through her performance of mitzvot.

Heed, my son, the instruction of your father, and cast not off the teaching of your mother. (Prov. 1:8) The Oral Torah1 is considered the "teaching of your mother", while the Written Torah is considered the "instruction of your father." The Written Torah, which represents divine chochma (or the yud, as mentioned above), is indistinct and hidden. The Written Torah also encompasses the 613 Mitzvot, but in a concealed manner. The Oral Torah clarifies and elucidates the mitzvot. A 'woman of valor'…develops the divine will concealed within the Written Torah…

For example, the mitzvah of Shabbat, in the Written Torah, is expressed in the Torah as "And you shall do no work." (Ex. 20:10; Deut. 5:14) An elaboration, however, of what constitutes or defines work is not provided. The Oral Torah explains, on the other hand, the thirty-nine forms of work and describes in precise detail what may or may not be performed on Shabbat. The same is true for all the other commandments, which are only revealed, explained and understood through the Oral Torah.

Therefore, the Oral Torah is termed metaphorically, "the teaching of your mother". In reality, each of the particular limbs sinews and attributes of a child are included, in great concealment, in the seed of the father. Nevertheless, only after being implanted in the womb of the mother does this potential develop into a manifest state when the mother finally gives birth.

Similarly, the 248 positive Mitzvot and the 365 negative Mitzvot emerge from their concealment only through the medium of the Oral Torah, called "the teaching of your mother."

This is also one of the meanings of "A woman of valor is the crown of her husband. (Prov. 12:4) The Oral Torah is termed a "woman of valor," who gives birth to, or develops, the divine will concealed within the Written Torah. This will, as expounded by the Oral Torah and its halachot, laws, are more sublime than the original divine chochma. For the Written Torah is only revealed through the Oral Torah.

Just as the crown rests atop the head, and therefore ranks higher than it, so, too, the Oral Torah, referred to as the "crown of Torah", is, in a way, loftier than the Written Torah since it contains the divine will and brings it to manifestation. Life without a wife is devoid of joy, blessing and well-being…

In a practical sense, too, "a woman of valor is the crown of her husband." She brings out the potential in her husband, children, home and environment, in general, revealing its spiritual goodness and beauty. Therefore, woman is the source of blessing and well being as our Sages have noted, "Life without a wife is devoid of joy, blessing and well-being." (Yevamot 62b)

Malchut as the Final Sefira

The sefira of malchut, as the hei of Havayah represents the last and final link in the flow of divine light into our physical world. As such, it is identified with the Shechina, the Divine Presence in our world, also called the mourning Mother, who accompanies and weeps with her children throughout their difficult journey in exile.

As the last sefira, malchut absorbs the light of the other sefirot and projects a unified, directed light into the world. Therefore, malchut is compared to the Shabbat, which absorbs and directs the blessing from the entire workweek. Internalizing the accomplishments from the outwardly directed, six days o the week, the feminine Shabbat draws the blessing inward into our world.

Similarly, malchut is compared to the womb in its capacity to receive the seminal flow, nurture and develop it into a complete and healthy child. As such, it is also likened to the moon that receives and reflects the light from the sun. It is only through malchut that the purpose of Creation comes to fruition…

Furthermore, as the sefira most connected to the realm of actuality, malchut represents the practical mitzvot and the divine will that implements the divine thought into concrete action. For this reason, malchut is associated with the Oral Tradition, "teachings of your mothers", which elaborates and expands upon the Written Torah, explaining its practical implementation. Similarly, malchut is considered the Mouth of G‑d and is likened to speech or communication, bringing creation, through His utterances, to its final, created completion.

These representations and imagery all allude to malchut's feminine mode. Therefore, malchut is termed Nukva, the female, or bat, the daughter, due to its intrinsically feminine qualities and functions.

"The beginning is wedged in the end." (Sefer Yetzira 1:7) The ultimate intent of Creation is actualized only through malchut, the final sefira. Though it is the last of the sefirot, it is only through malchut that the purpose of Creation comes to fruition. Nothing occurs without the instrument of malchut. For only malchut has the ability to accomplish G‑d's original divine purpose of establishing a relationship with physical beings in this created lower world.

So, too, in the succession of the six days of Creation, woman was created last. She, too, represents this ultimate end that was wedged in the beginning of G‑d's original plan. Only through woman and her feminine attributes of malchut, can Creation realize its ultimate intent and mission when "G‑d will be King over all Creation; on that day, G‑d will be One and His Name will be One." (Zach. 14:9)

Footnotes
1.
The Written Torah refers to the Five Books of Moses. The Oral Torah or Tradition refers to all other books of Torah including the Mishna, Talmud, and works of Halacha and Kabbalah. Originally, the latter was not recorded in written form, only taught and transmitted verbally, from generation to generation. Eventually, historical circumstances necessitated that they be written, for their preservation.
Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
 Email
Sort By:
Discussion (1)
January 27, 2014
Malchut and the feminine part 2.
Dear Chana,

Does this only apply to jewish woman, or can this be truth for women "outside" judaism too?
Anonymous

The larger, bold text is the direct translation of the classic text source.

The smaller, plain text is the explanation of the translator/editor.
Text with broken underline will provide a popup explanation when rolled over with a mouse.