What is Malchut?
The seventh quality (middah) is Malchut, which is the quality of nobility or dignity whereby we integrate the prior 6 middot: Love, Awe, Compassion, Endurance, Humility, and Foundation. Nobility of spirit is the manifestation of our greatest potential. In some ways, it is the reification of one or more of the other 6 qualities as we choose to lead our lives and our communities.
Other translations of Malchut are:
So what? How does it relate to me?
Malchut requires us to act with nobility, ensuring our lives reflect the dignity of blessing of life. This same demand for human dignity expands to others as well. Malchut requires that our words, our actions, and our choices reflect the ultimate dignity of the other. As Prof. Abraham Joshua Heschel put it, to respond to others as “the living, breathing image of God.”
Recognizing the dignity of another is a guiding Jewish principle both for loved ones as well as with those whom we disagree with. Malchut offers us a way to heal a fractured society by requiring us to recognize the respect and ultimate value of another while still maintaining our position on important issues. These are not mutually exclusive.
Malchut is human dignity and often is the sense that you belong and have the capacity to flourish. In many ways, this quality is the integration of the prior 6 middot: Love, Awe, Compassion, Endurance, Humility, and Foundation. Nobility is our unique integration of these 6 middot along with our set of skills, blessings, and hope.
Dignity of self is related to our confidence, knowing that we matter, and that we have the authority to improve, to grow, and to take on even greater responsibility.
Malchut is the truest expression of leadership as it is a reflection of God’s will and desire for our lives. We are chosen to enter into a covenant with God in order to lead our world through the 7 Divine attributes.
True leadership is established both as “the sage on stage” and “the guide on the side.” In the case of Malchut, we are reminded that God is within us, beckoning us to bring ourselves, our loved ones, and our world into greater harmony with Love, Awe, Compassion, Endurance, Humility, Bonding, and Nobility.
Malchut practice for the week:
- How does dignity help shape our decision making?
- Do we honor those around us–recognizing their dignity?
- How might we better model leadership through ethical behavior? Is it by listening more deeply, by recognizing the humanity of another?
- How might we best recognize dignity in a digital space?