Sovereignty within Lovingkindness
The seventh day of the Omer is the day of malkhut she’b’chesed, sovereignty within lovingkindness.
Malkhut means sovereignty or kingship, which we often associate with masculinity. But in the Jewish mystical tradition, this aspect of God is associated with Shekhinah, the divine presence immanent in creation, which is usually understood as feminine.
How do we create a space for God’s sovereignty, for divine rule of creation, through lovingkindness?
How do we imbue our lovingkindness with a sense of Shekhinah, a sense of God’s presence here in creation with us?
Rabbi Min Kantrowitz writes:
Malchut/Shechina is sometimes described as the Indwelling Presence of God. The Indwelling Presence is like an electrical ground: it allows the flow to continue without blowing a fuse. The energy of Chesed can enter the world, move through us, spread throughout the world, and then, it can flow back to God. This lets our divine purpose of bringing righteous compassion into the world to complete itself, to rest and be renewed. This is a noble task, consistent with the concept of Malchut (as nobility or sovereignty) within Chesed. Today we focus on our role in sharing and grounding this flow of Divine energy, realizing that the domain of compassion surrounds us and supports us as we do our parts.
Today is the seventh day of the Omer, the first resting point of the counting of the Omer for this year. After a week of freedom, we pause. We remember the seed of eternal love placed within each of us, and take the time to honor its Source. In Jewish tradition, seven is the number of completion. Just as we mark each completed week with Shabbat and then, rested and refreshed, we begin anew, so each week of the counting of the Omer we begin renewed, ready to move closer toward the future that is moving toward us, knowing ourselves more intimately than the week before.
This day marks the end of Passover. Eating bread and leavened food again does not mean that we forget the fear and flight in our past, or lose awareness of the ways others or we are still enslaved. Now we eat ordinary foods with a renewed awareness of the joy sof our own freedom and a renewed commitment to help others achieve freedom. Freedom implies having sovereignty over our own lives. Responsible freedom implies that we do something meaningful with that liberty.
—Rabbi Min Kantrowitz, Counting the Omer: A Kabbalistic Meditation Guide
And Shifrah Tobacman writes:
We are making our way slowly
from the freedom of leaving the narrow place
to the freedom that comes with wisdom.
The worlds are about to fold
one into the next, not to disappear,
but to nestle within each other,
be made whole by their connection…
What control will you relinquish,
what idea will you unfasten,
what assumption will you decree annulled
to make space in your heart
for goodwill to enter freely
and pour out willingly?
Make this space in you now
here at the 7th gate.
—Shifrah Tobacman, from Omer/Teshuvah
This is the seventh step toward Shavuot, toward revelation, toward Sinai.
As I count the Omer, let my counting create a tikkun, a healing, between transcendence and immanence, God far above and God deep within.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ רוּחַ הַעולָם, אָשֶר קִדשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ אַל סְפִירַת הַעמֶר.
Baruch atah, Adonai, eloheinu ruach ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sfirat ha-omer.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, breath of life, who makes us holy with mitzvot and gives us this opportunity to count the Omer.
Today is the seventh day of the Omer!