Malchut b’ Malchut
I heard a group of historians debating whether we can say Hasidism carries “green” values. The nays were winning when, as I remember it, Rabbi Tikvah Frymer Kinsky stands up and says that our people’s project has always been ‘recombinant theological engineering’. Don’t you love that phrase? She reminded us that textual associations have always reflected contemporary influences, are built on the past and can even contain creative flair! Fitting for our work here, eh, as we have chosen to combine Omer counting with Sefirot and Earth.
We started out 48 days ago politically free but hurting. We’ve journeyed over hill and dale to spiritual freedom and have now reached the penultimate step, Malchut b’Malchut which will carry us to the peak and revelation at Sinai. How do we honor Malchut? What portrait is worthy? The key was unlocked for me when I found this truly subversive Shavuot teaching from the Sfat Emet, a grand Rebbe of for the Jews of Ger and Warsaw. He emphasizes that our awe is more important than our learning. He calls learning ‘the gateway’ and awe ‘the dwelling place’. This Talmudic quote is all the proof needed! “Woe to the one who has no dwelling place, but makes of their life a gateway”. Yes, Torah can open our hearts, but the dwelling place is the awe and love we carry in our lives.
In a beautiful series of creative associations, the Sfat Emet says this is why we read the scroll of Ruth on Shavuot- after all, Ruth is the great grandmother of David, which is linked with Malchut which is linked with awe. If awe and wonder is connected with Malchut, than Malchut b’Malchut becomes Awe b’Awe. Here’s my story offering to take us into revelation, a 6 minute story I’m calling Sense of Wonder b’Sense of Wonder. Chag Shavu’ot Same’ach.
Reflection/Action: Please find a friend or a loved one to sit with and share your sense of wonder b’sense of wonder story. Perhaps share at a meal and ask others for their stories as well. What would it mean if we could remember on our hearts that this everyday world we live in contains experiences such as these? Chag Shavu’ot Same’ach.