Midot Hayom 5770 Day 48: Yesod in Malchut
Said David before the Holy One, Blessed is He, “Although I was king, I made you King over me” (Shocher Tov 16:2). He was king, but he said, “ I am not King. Hashem is King, and He has crowned me.” He was powerful but he said, “I
am not powerful”; He was rich, but he said, “I am not rich; Yours, Hashem, is the wealth and the power” (I Chronicles 29:11). He went to war and won, but he said, “I did not win because of my might; [Hashem] helped me and granted me victory” (Shocher Tov 144:1).
David came before the divine presence, stretched himself out full length on the ground and said, “My Father in Heaven . . . the Torah that I have studied before You are Yours [for the Torah is Yours], and the acts of kindness that I have done before You are Yours [ for the wealth is Yours]. Yet in reward for the little bit of Torah I have learned before You, You gave me possession of This world, the Messianic era, and the World to Come” (Tanna d’Bei Eliyahu Rabbah 18).
David was sick and bedridden for thirteen years. He wept so profusely in remorse over the incident [of Bath-Sheba] that his bedding had to be changed seven times each day. When he recovered, he stood up and transmitted to the people the scroll [containing the instructions for building] the temple (Aggadat Bereishit 38).
David never forgot that his royal position was not his, but granted by God, the True King. His awareness that everything came from God was so powerful that he did not forget the source of his power, his wealth, and even his hard-fought victories. He was so loyal to God that he constantly maintained awareness of God’s role in each and every aspect of his life, except for one incident: Batsheba. David did not focus on God’s absolute control, but asserted himself. He realized that he had damaged himself, and because he was king, the entire nation. He spent 13 years ill over that one mistake.
It was only when he recovered, and felt that he had repaired the damage to the entire nation, that he was prepared to transmit the scroll with the instructions for building the House of God.
The most remarkable aspect of King David’s Teshuva is that he did not only acknowledge his sin, he reflected on the sin’s impact on his entire being, and through him, on the entire nation over which he was king. It was his awareness how the story with Batsheba had impacted the entire Yesod of his Malchut, the Foundation of his Kingdom, that empowered him to repair all the damage, and rise up from his bed to give his people a gift greater than any he had previously been able to transmit.
As we grow and achieve a greater sense of the Unity of God’s Creation, and our role in it, Yesod in Malchut demands a concomitant awareness that whatever we have comes from God. Yesod in Malchut also requires that when we act without the highest loyalty to God, that we understand how that action affects everything, not just ourselves. When we have truly achieved a sense of Malchut, a connection with a unified creation, our actions, thoughts and words, matter more. Our Teshuva, meaning our desire to repair the damage to God’s creation, must address all of creation.
If we merit achieving Teshuva on such a level, we, too, as King David, will be able to give much more than ever before to all of creation.
- This is a day of Teshuva: Repairing the damage to God’s creation.
- We should not approach Teshuva as fixing ourselves.
- Use the 5th blessing of the Amidah, Teshuva, to focus on repairing the entire Creation.