Combating Low Self Esteem with a Royal Attitude
MyLife Essay Contest 2016
Maintaining our sense of self-worth is a struggle in exile due to the concealed state of G-dliness which present challenges in our modern world. Chassidus gives us the tools to see our true selves and infuse ourselves with the energy of Malchus. When we contemplate the concept of Malchus, it allows us to combat the unrealistic standards of perfection the media bombards us with and preserve our self-worth elevating and sanctifying ourselves in the process.
The Faculty of Malchus (Sovereignty)
In the Friediker Rebbe’s Ma’amar Tov Li Toras Picha Me’Alfei Zahav Vakesef, (1) he explains how all Israel are children of royalty because their souls descend from Malchus, the faculty of Kingship within God’s supernal name.
We mention this supernal source of souls each day in the prayer of Ashrei, which we recite in the morning and afternoon prayer service. There, we acknowledge God’s kingship and sovereignty over all of creation by saying “Malchuscha Malchus Kol Olamim”, your kingship is a kingship over all worlds. This fundamental idea of god’s kingship is indeed repeated in other daily prayers including yishtabach and shmona esrei.
Chassidus introduces us to our ten soul faculties (Sefirot),(2) explaining that there are three intellectual and seven emotional faculties. The emotions are born out of the intellectual thoughts. Malchus (sovereignty) is the last faculty in the line of seven and it is the medium by which the world is created and the place where all Jewish souls come from.(3)
In order to see ourselves as royalty we need to relate to the faculty of malchus. How do we tap into these powers and develop ourselves as individuals and as a collective nation?
The Frierdiker Rebbe explains that Malchus has a very unique role in that it can accomplish the intent of creation. (4) It serves as an instrument that allows creation to flow through it. Just like a woman’s womb receives the seed of a man and develops it into a complete and developed being, so too malchus receives the divine energy from the other sefiros and allows them to develop into physical creation. (5)
In addition, when the kohanim bless the Jewish people, they use the words Bnei Melachim “sons of kings”(6) This is because they are sourced in the level of Malchus. The Kohanim were chosen to carry out the sacred duties in the temple. During those services they practiced two very important aspects in their service; privacy and modesty.
These two fundamental qualities of privacy and modesty make one royal.
In the Temple, the kohanim wore special garments that were crucial in preserving modesty in the presence of G-d. The service of the Kohen Gadol during Yom Kippur was so sacred that it required him to do it alone. Even angels were not allowed to be present. The privacy of the service shows the level of revelation that it brought for the Jewish people. A real king of flesh and blood dresses in royal garments that preserve his status. This gives us an insight as to the idea of preserving something precious for the purpose of sanctity. (7)
Malchus is a feminine attribute which expands on something and actualizes it. But in practice this needs to take place in privacy with an inward approach. The verse “Kol Kvuda Bas Melech Pnima”(8) expresses how, great power is within! This refers to the Jewish woman who modestly guards that which is sacred and precious within her. When the body is kept covered, it is sanctified, thereby allowing the woman to express her soul, and inner essence freely without distraction.
Ultimately these are the same tools that we can utilize to elevate our status from a lowly state of being. Anyone who experiences a low self esteem needs to examine the level of privacy and modesty they can achieve in their personal lives. In today’s world of social media, we can take a look at our posts and tweets and think to ourselves, is this fit for royalty? Do I have to post that picture? Will everyone’s comments make my marriage better? Will it make me a better person? How will this help in enriching my life so I have less distractions and more time to dedicate to G-dliness?
The ability to act in a way that portrays royalty, ultimately restores our dignified status where we are appreciated and respected. This makes us stronger and more focused. We then gain the clarity to focus our energies on sanctifying ourselves and the world around us, which will ultimately restore our status as a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
- Chassidus Discourses Volume 1 Shalom B Wineberg quoting Sefer Haa’amarim Yiddish Volume 1
- Tanya Likkutei Amorim Chapter 3
- Sefer Hama’amarim Yiddish page 149
- Sefer Hama’amarim Yiddish page 151
- Chabad.Org article titled “Malchus and the Feminine” Chana Wiesberg Quoting Tikkunei Zohar and Zohar Chaddash
- Tackling Life’s tasks: Everyday Energized with Hayom Yom page 182 quoting Gamarah Shabbos 14:4
- Sicha of the Rebbe Parshas Tetzaveh
- Tehillim 45:14
About the Author
Born in Israel, raised in California, and now living in New York, Yael finds endless inspiration for her writing from the everyday joys and challenges that come along with raising five boisterous children. A passionate educator as well, Yael teaches Chumash and Tanya in Brooklyn’s Chabad Girls Academy.