Weekly Cycle

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Week 22 (Book 4): Dominion versus Kingship, Royalty

STORY OF CHANNAH: 22. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband: "Until the child is weaned, then I shall bring him, and he shall appear before the Lord, and abide there forever.

QUALITY OF PIRKEI AVOT: dominion           

PROVERBS: Chapter 22

Week 22 is the week of Rosh Chodesh Adar. The verse from the story of Channah continues last week’s description of Elkanah’s annual pilgrimage, in which Channah chooses to stay behind to nurse Shmuel. Interestingly, the text emphasizes how Channah told her husband the reason why she chose not to go. This additional emphasis, demonstrates Channah’s concern for her husband, as well as a certain level of subservience, even though, Channah ultimately has her way in the matter. Adar is the month of Purim, which is the story of how another woman, Queen Esther, is able to convince her husband, Achashverosh, to save the Jewish people and destroy its enemy, Haman, who was effectively ruler of the kingdom at the time.

This week’s Pirkei Avot quality is that the Torah grants dominion, Memshalah. Memshalah is different from kingship, Malchut, in that it does not necessarily reflect royalty. One can rule without being king, like Joseph did as viceroy, and like LeHavdil, Haman did, as mentioned above. Memshalah appears to reflect more of a masculine power, connected to shear power and force, while Malchut is has a more elevated sublime feminine quality, as reflected in the Sefirah of Malchut, which is connected to speech. This is all very much connected to the above verse in Channah’s story and to Adar.

Chapter 22 of the Book of Proverbs is very much about power. Its focus is primarily on economic power, physical wealth.

1. A name is chosen above great wealth; good favor over silver and gold.
2. A rich man and a poor man were visited upon; the Lord is the Maker of them all.          
4. In the wake of humility comes fear of the Lord, riches, honor, and life.  
7. A rich man will rule over the poor, and a borrower is a slave to a lender.

The word used for “rule” in verse 7 is Yimshol, from the same root as Memshalah.

This year there are two months of Adar, and yahrzeits are usually commemorated on the second one, unless the person passed away in the first Adar in a year that also had two. We will therefore, leave the descriptions for the next month, when we repeat weeks 22 through 25.  

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