Tuesday, September 10, 2013

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Malchiyos, Zichronos and Shofros

by Reb Aharon Rubin, author of Eye to the Infinite

imageThe Tikunei Zohar says:

“The Menorah is the vessel to receive the wick, the oil and the light.

The wick is the Shechinoh,
its oil is the [attribute of] Tsaddik,
its light is the Middle Pillar [the Tetragramatton].

Similarly, the soul (Nefesh) that is the partner of the body is the wick,
the Ruach [lit. spirit or wind] is the oil,
the light is the Neshomoh.

The vessel is the body.”[1]

On Rosh HaShonnoh, we say (in the Musaf prayer) ten verses of Malchiyos [verses denoting G-d’s Kingship], ten of Zichronos [verses stating that G-d remembers His covenant with us] and ten of Shofros [verses that mention the Shofar].

Malchiyos, Zichronos and Shofros correspond to the three elements of the oil-lamp mentioned in the Zohar: the wick, the oil and the light, and thus, to the Shechinoh, the attribute of Tsaddik and the Tetragramatton.

Malchiyos speaks of G-d as King. This is the Shechinoh, the Presence of G-d that is bound with His people, Yisroel [the vessel or body], the wick in the Menorah-lamp.

The Zichronos verses speak of G-d’s covenant with us. This is the level of Tsaddik. This indicates that G-d’s Kingship and ruling the world centres on His covenant, and also on our keeping our part of the covenant, the Torah. This is the Bris [covenant] between G-d and us, the oil that ‘feeds’ the light and keeps the light attached to the wick.

Shofros is the Light, the Source of all blessing. It is the eternity beyond this world, brought into this world through Torah and Mitsvos.

On Rosh HaShonnoh we crown G-d. We recognise the Creator as our King and King of all the worlds. This is the groundwork, the foundation for the year. And it is our part of the covenant. And with the Mitsvoh of Shofar we bring in the transcendence of the Ineffable Name, infusing the strict attribute of Din of G-d’s Kingship with the love and mercy of the Infinite.

In essence, Rosh HaShonnoh is Malchiyos, instilled with Bris [Zichronos] and Shofar [Rachamim – loving-mercy]. I’d like to suggest that the Asseres Yemei Teshuvoh are strengthening the bond of Zichronos. After having accepted the Creator as King, we build on that, with good deeds and learning Torah, increasing the ‘oil’ for the flame. This is the time to concentrate on good deeds, strengthening our personal bond with G-d.

On Yom Kippur, the most holy day of the year, we ‘go into’ the Shofar, the World of the Neshomoh. We elevate the Malchiyos to Shofros: we bind this world and the Shechinoh with the light of the Ineffable Name. It is Din in Rachamim[2], a day of pure light.

People say they do not have time to contemplate. During these days, especially during the long services of the High Holy Days, we should remember what our sages say, “It is better to say less, but with proper devotion, than a lot with little devotion!” There is so much time we spend in Shul. Take a short Tefilloh, a prayer that speaks to you, and say it slowly over and over till you have internalised its message.

Our main avoidah these days is to realise that the Creator is our G-d, always with us and available for us and looking at everything we do. Whatever we do really matters, both on the large scale and affecting our personal bond with G-d. Let us make the most of these days to build that special bond between us and G-d.


[1] Introduction to Tikunei Zohar

[2] Ramban, Parshas Emor.


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