The Power of Women II: The paradigm for the Shechina

Updated: Sep 8



As we spoke in previous articles, women have often been in the

backstage for the development of history. And, despite having huge

influence over the affairs of mainkind, their accomplishments have

often gone unnoticed. Let’s try to rectify that a little in this article.

Here we will explore a new facet of these wonderful feats of

women in the Tanach, obviously from a Kabbalistic perspective!

Before we go on, let’s explore a few more ideas from Kabbalah.

The Arizal explains that before all sustenance reaches the physical

world, it has to traverse through all the spiritual systems above. Each

one takes it share, and whatever is left is distributed according to

each person’s need.


The Spiritual System of Creation

Each of the 4 worlds Atzilut, Beriyah, Yetzirah and Assiyah

have 5 spiritual systems (or engines) within them that need to be

rectified. This can happen at every instant, Mitzvah, or over a period

of time like the system of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and

Shmini Atzeret. What we do in 22 days is a macrocosm of what we do

in the daily Tefilah. When we fix a certain system, then Light flows

down and the bottom-most system is what is called the Shechina (or

the Sephira of Malkhut).

The Shechina is responsible for receiving the Light from the

upper systems and bringing it down to the next world. In fact, the

complaining and diminishing of the moon is explained on a deeper

level to be associated with the fact that the Shechina has to go to the

world below it and sustain it. That was part of Hashem’s order of “Go

and diminish yourself”.


There are occasions in which the Shechina goes up to be

replenished and then comes back down to “bring food to her house

and laws to her maidens” (as we read in the Eshet Chayil song).

In essence, the Shechina is everything, and while it’s called

Hashem’s immanent presence in Creation, it is a female aspect of His

Divine Providence. The male counterpart is called Ze’ir Anpin (“small

face” in Aramaic), and is Hashem’s transcendent part of the Divine

Providence. Basically, what we are doing with our Torah, Mitzvot and

Tefillot is getting these manifestations to be rectified and united.

So, whatever we have is, first and foremost a product of how

much light the Shechina receives from above. This can be wisdom,

health, wealth, protection, victory over enemies and even prophecy.


Why miss out on the Secrets of Torah?

The Zohar laments when people see the Torah only according

to its literal meaning and uses very stern language to describe their

limited understanding. As it turns out, each of the women in the Bible

represent a facet of the Shechina and their lives needs to be carefully

analysed in order to see the fascinating works of Hashem’s

providence.


The story of Purim is probably the best example. Esther

assumes the main role of saving the Jewish People by placing her life

no the line. In the beginning of the Megillat Esther, Haman

“prophetically” said “Yeshno Am Echad Mefuzar” (there’s one people

scattered) to convince king Achashverosh of his plan. The Arizal

interprets the word Yeshno (there is) as Yoshen (asleep), since both

words have the same letters. In Sha’ar HaKavanot Rabbi Chaim Vital

explains that Haman, as a big astrologer, knew Ze’ir Anpin was

“asleep” as it were. The Mochin (flow of Divine consciousness) hadn’t

descended yet to wake it up and this is what happens when we are all

asleep. This happened in the macrocosmical system of 70 years of

exile and it was a necessary step to building up the

Malkhut/Shechina, exactly as it was in the story of Purim! Esther

took the lead, while Mordechai was in the backstage, building himself

and the people up, until he finally emerged and, as the verse says

“went out from the presence of the king, clothed with a royal robe,

and a great golden crown”. This moment, which we revisit every

year, spelled out the culmination of the saving of the Jewish people

when we received a tremendous Light that was hidden and is only

available on Purim.


Women saving the day

And this is a situation that often happens in the course of

mankind and Jewish family. The Talmud in Tractate Sanhedrin

praises On ben Pelet’s wife for having saved her husband from

joining Korach’s rebellion. When her husband was “asleep” about life,

she took the lead by saying “What do you gain by joining Korach? If

he wins, you will still be an underling, and if he loses, you will also be

an underling!”. So she fed him and made him drunk so he’d sleep

until late and miss the action. She also “sacrificed” part of her

modesty when Korach’s comrades came to get On, by showing her

hair at the entrance of her tent and warding them off. The same

happened to Yael, who ended up killing Sisera by bringing her into

her tent with a spike. It was also the Shechina that meted out punishment against the Egyptians, Syrian Greeks and all other enemies of the Jewish People.


The prophets (Yeshaya 30:26) tell us that in the future, “the

light of the moon will be like the light of the sun”. This means that the

Shechina will shine like its male counterpart the transcendent Divine

Providence and an abundance of Light will flow down freely to “cover

the face of the earth like the sea”.

While the moon / Shechina / women need to go down from its

original splendor, we can only appreciate their efforts to sustain

creation and pray that their crown will be restored for eternity,

speedily in our days.


This article was written and published in the zechut of all Emuna Builder Partners. May they have complete emuna and continue spreading emuna!

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