Politics is an ugly game. As conflicting forces jockey for power and control, it sometimes seems that we are living in a modern and all-too-real version of the Game of Thrones. Aspiring kings and kingmakers battle in the public arena, and we, the populace, always seem to pay the price.
Yet as we enter the final week of Sefiras ha’Omer, the seven week period between Passover and Shavuos, we are offered an image of a more perfect union: one in which power and sovereignty are not clawed after and won, one in which we are not marching and clashing in the streets, one in which we are not constantly challenging the precarious structures that threatens to crumble upon us.
We have so far counted six weeks from the day we left Egypt, and today we begin the seventh and final week as we approach Mount Sinai. Each of the seven weeks represents one of the seven “middos/emotional attributes” that we are to be purifying and perfecting during this period in our ascent from the depths of slavery to the heights of spiritual revelation. This seventh week represents the attribute of “Malchus,” which is translated as “Royalty” or “Sovereignty.” What is this concept of “royalty,” and how are we to refine this trait in order to reach the top of the mountain and merit the revelation of God’s deepest wisdom and will?
The first thing to understand about “Malchus” is that we are all royals! Not only do we all have “royal blood,” but each us is veritably a king or queen. This is by virtue of the fact that it is a piece of the King of Kings that dwells within our deepest core and comprises our essential being. The question is how we can actualize the majesty that is hidden within us, how we can be the monarch that we were created to be.
A king, in Torah, is not a ruler. The Hebrew word for ruler is “moshel,” while the term for king is “melech” (a derivative of Malchus). To be a monarch in the Torah sense is not to enforce one’s will over others, but rather to empty oneself completely in order to channel the will of the ultimate King into His creation. The earthly king/queen is the most humble person in the kingdom – one who has achieved such spiritual purity that s/he has no desire for power, wealth, or fame. S/he wants only to be a conduit for the Godly flow that moves through each of us, and to communicate that flow to her/his citizens in order that they too can manifest their “malchus/sovereignty” and allow the infinite Oneness of God to flow through them.
Sovereignty is independence and self-rule. It is the state of being under the power and control of no external force or ruler. To express the “Malchus/royalty” that is within each of us, we develop the awareness that we are not subject to any of the extrinsic forces of this world. We are pieces of hidden light in the darkness. We are Kings and Queens in waiting. When we cultivate this “Malchus” and allow it to be manifest through us, we are ready to climb Mount Sinai and bring the Torah down into the world. With this revelation of God’s deepest wisdom, we will then be able to fulfill our mission of bringing out the royalty in every one of His creations.
When each of us perceives the “Malchus” within ourselves, we will no longer crave recognition and power, and we will no longer strive for dominance and subjugation. When we recognize the “Malchus” in all of those around us, we will see our neighbors and fellow citizens not as combatants or competitors, but as our royal peers. At that point, we will no longer need to play the vicious game of thrones that we are currently engaged in, for we will respect one another’s seat at the royal court, and we will collaborate to ensure that the Godly integrity in every one of us is nurtured, represented, and valued.