As we spoke in the previous articles, each of the tribes of Yaakov Avinu has its own power. They are associated with a specific Sephira from the Higher Worlds and a certain month. We didn’t mention it but they are each associated with a permutation of the divine name Y-H-V-H (4!/2 = 12) as well.
When Yaakov was about to leave this world, he blessed that the Tribe of Yehuda will, in the future, bring forth the true Kings of Israel. Indeed, King David came forth from him and Mashiach will descend from him.
As many already can imagine, the Tribe of Yehuda is associated with the Sephirah of Malkhut (Kingship) and the month of Nissan. This makes sense since the first Mishnah from Tractate of Rosh Hashana teaches that the first of Nissan is the new year of Kings. Due to their exalted status, the tribe of Yehuda also led the Jewish people in the Desert and travelled first when Hashem commanded. This shows his royal status in relation to his brothers.
Teshuva from Yehuda
Yehuda was the first person to really do Teshuva after he consorted with Tamar, thinking she was a harlot. To his credit, our sages tell us explicitly he was compelled by an angel, in order to bring about an extremely high divine union, from which the soul of Mashiach would come.
Nevertheless, when he discovered that the woman whom he had relations with was Tamar, he admitted it wholeheartedly, and in front of all his family. His courage set the precedent for generations to come and teaches us that all honor belongs to Hashem only, and that kings must be subjugated to Him in self-effacing humility. This act was mimicked by David many generations later, when he consorted with Batsheva and was stricken with great afflictions for many years. The Arizal even teaches that David was kept out of Gan Eden for 7 years after his death, not because he actually sinned, but only because of the smell of sin.
In Halacha, we learn that, although a certain pomp is in place when it comes to kingship, the sages in the Talmud teach that a King must perform his entire Amidah (standing prayer) bowing. He also must carry a Torah scroll on his arms wherever he goes (except to the bathroom and bathhouse) to always consult it.
But Yehuda’s Teshuva goes much deeper than that as shall soon see.
The Secrets of Kingship
As we saw in many articles before, the Sephira of Malkhut is the lowest one, that which according to the Zohar is a “murky mirror, and that has no light of its own”. This is because, like the moon, it can only give down what it receives from the higher Sephirot. We find this idea in the name of King David himself, which is spelled דוד . Our sages teach that the first and last ד represent poverty (in Hebrew “Dalut”), while the ו in the middle represent blessing and bounty from Above. David was so humble, he considered himself lowly both in the beginning of his life (the first Dalet), as well as in the end (the last Dalet), when he received all his bounty.
We find in Likutey Moharan from Rebbe Nachman of Breslov that in the royalty of tribe of Yehuda is also related to the secret of thanksgiving. Giving thanks and acknowledging the good bestowed by another, in this case Hashem, demonstrates humility and causes one to be nullified to Him.
As many readers already know, the Jewish Holidays give us a glimpse of Hashem’s conduct in the spiritual worlds. This is reflected in the many mystical intentions many people use in the different days, even within the days of the festivals themselves. The Arizal teaches us in Sha’ar HaKavanot (Gates of Mystical Intentions) that each of the Holidays is associated with a Sephira which governs its spiritual system.
Thus, Chanukah is associated with the Sephirah of Hod, because it’s related to Thanksgiving. The oil represents Chokhmah (Wisdom), which acts as a conduit to receive divine blessings and that’s why the kings would be anointed with oil.
But more importantly, each of the 8 days of Chanukah channel one of the exalted 13 Attributes of Mercy down to the 7 Sephirot of the system of Chanukah inside Creation. Yet, we see that, on the 8th day, corresponding to the Sephirah of Malkhut, we have no less than 6 Attributes of Mercy channeled down (1 attribute for 7 days + 6 in the last day = 13 attributes)!
This shows how important and valuable kingship is in the eyes of Hashem. And, in fact, Rebbe Nachman teaches us that eating is a way to drawn down royalty and, consequently, increase the abundance one receives in life. Eating with equanimity and properly, like royalty, is the proper way to eat.
An inspiring story on royalty
Contrary to other nations’ monarchs, Jewish Kings need to be absolutely righteous and without any ulterior desire. Even though, at times, this has not been the case, Halacha is very clear to set up the high standards kings must follow.
A fascinating story that exemplifies the dichotomy between royalty and humility is found in the Tzadik R’ Yisrael from Rudzhin. R’ Yisrael made it his custom to conduct himself with pomp, wearing royal garments and golden boots, having fanfares and even had an orchestra to play when he addressed his community. This, he explained, was to teach Jews that we are supposed to feel like royalty and appreciate our tradition. Few people knew however that his golden boots had no sole and his feet would bleed when he’d dance when sanctifying the new moon. And this was in order to humble himself.
May we merit to learn from Yehuda son of Yaakov and follow in his ways, with royalty and humility!
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