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Thursday, May 29, 2008

7th Week of the Omer


During the seventh and final week of the counting of the Omer, we examine and refine the attribute of Malchut – nobility, sovereignty and leadership. Sovereignty is a state of being rather than an activity. Nobility is a passive expression of human dignity that has nothing of its own except that which it receives from the other six emotions. True leadership is the art of selflessness; it is only a reflection of the will of YHVH. On the other hand, Malchut manifests and actualizes the character and majesty of the human spirit. It is the very fiber of what makes us human.

Malchut is a sense of belonging, knowing that you matter and that you make a difference. It is knowing that you have the ability to be a proficient leader in your own right. It gives you independence and confidence - a feeling of certainty and authority. When a mother lovingly cradles her child in her arms and the child’s eyes meet the mother’s affectionate eyes, the child receives the message: “I am wanted and needed in this world. I have a comfortable place where I will always be loved. I have nothing to fear. I feel like royalty in my heart.” This is Malchut, kingship.

Day 43: “Chesed of Malchut” – Loving-kindness in Nobility
Healthy sovereignty is always kind and loving. An effective leader needs to be warm and considerate. Does my sovereignty make me more loving? Do I exercise my authority and leadership in a caring manner? Do I impose my authority on others?

Exercise for the day: Do something kind for your subordinates.

Day 44: “Gevurah of Malchut” – Discipline in Nobility
Although sovereignty is loving, it needs to be balanced with discipline. Effective leadership is built on authority and discipline. There is another factor in the discipline of sovereignty: determining the area in which you have jurisdiction and authority.

Do I recognize when I am not taking authority? Do I exercise authority in unwarranted situations? Am I aware of my limitations as well as my strengths? Do I respect the authority of others?

Exercise for the day: Before taking an authoritative position on any given issue, pause and reflect if you have the right and the ability to exercise authority in this situation.

Day 45: “Tiferet in Malchut” – Compassion in Nobility
A good leader is a compassionate one. Is my compassion compromised because of my authority? Do I realize that an integral part of dignity is compassion? Tiferet – harmony – is critical for successful leadership. Di I manage a smooth-running operation? Am I organized? Do I give clear instruction to my subordinates? Do I have difficulty in delegating power? Do I have frequent meetings with those I work with to coordinate our goals and efforts?

Exercise for the day: Review an area where you wield authority and see if you can polish it up and increase its effectiveness by curtailing excesses and consolidating forces.

Day 46: “ Netzach of Malchut” – Endurance in Nobility
A person’s dignity and a leader’s success are tested by his endurance level. Our will and determination reflect the power and majesty of the human spirit. How determined are you in reaching your goals? How strong is your conviction to fight for a dignified cause? How confident am I in myself? Do I mask my insecurities by finding other excuses for my low endurance level?

Exercise for the day: Act on something that you believe in but have until now have been tentative about. Take the leap and just do it!

Day 47: “Hod of Malchut” – Humility in Nobility
Sovereignty is YHVH’s gift to each individual. Hod of Malchut is the humble expression of this exceptional gift. Does my sovereignty and independence humble me? Am I an arrogant leader? Do I appreciate the special qualities that I was blessed with and those in the people around me?

Exercise for the day: Acknowledge YHVH for creating you with personal dignity

Day 48: “Yesod of Malchut” – Bonding in Nobility
Examine the bonding aspect of your sovereignty. Healthy independence should not prevent you from bonding with another person. On the contrary: self confidence allows you to respect and trust another’s sovereignty and ultimately form a bond. That bond will strengthen your own sovereignty, rather than sacrifice it.

Does my sovereignty prevent me from bonding? Could that be because of deeper insecurities of which I am unaware? Do I recognize the fact that a fear of bonding reflects a lack of self-confidence in my own sovereignty?

Exercise for the day: Actualize your sovereignty by intensifying your bond with a close one.

Day 49: “Malchut of Malchut” – Nobility in Nobility
Examine the sovereignty of your sovereignty. Does it come from deep-rooted inner confidence in myself or is it a put-on to mask my own insecurities? Does that cause my sovereignty to be excessive? Am I aware of my uniqueness as a person and of my personal contribution?

Exercise for the day: Take a moment and concentrate on yourself, on your true inner self, not on your performance and how you project to others; and be at peace with yourself knowing that YHVH created a very special person which is you.

After the 49 days of the Counting of the Omer, after having fully achieved inner renewal by merit of having assessed and developed each of our 49 attributes, we arrive at the fiftieth day. On this day we celebrate the Festival of Shavuot, the giving of the Torah (Matan Torah) and the giving of the Ruach Hakodesh. After we have accomplished all we can through our own initiative, then we are worthy to receive our gifts (matanot) from Above which we could not have achieved with our own limited faculties. We receive the ability to reach and touch Holiness; not only to be cultivated human beings who have refined all of our personal characteristics, but a Holy Nation, called of YHVH who are capable of expressing ourselves above and beyond the definitions and limitations of our beings.

It is my prayer that this meditational study has helped you to rise to a new level in your relationship with the Holy One, blessed is he, that we may all reach the place where our relationship with our heavenly Father is tangible.

Chag Shavuat Sameach!

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