The Stages of Malchut

sefirot Jun 15, 2021

The Stages of Malchut

by Rabbi Amichai Cohen

Malchut is different than the rest of the Sefirot. It is the last one of the Sefirot and is the culmination and purpose of the rest of the Sefirot. Malchut is viewed as the receiving Sefira, yet it also ascends and surpasses the light of the higher Sefirot. There is a saying in Chassidut that “anything which is higher can descend lower and anything which is lower has a high source”.

The Arizal (Eitz Chaim chapter 36) teaches that Malchut manifests herself in three stages.

Stage one: Malchut is called a point. When Malchut is below the 9 Sefirot and specifically under Yesod. At this stage, Malchut is viewed noting of its own and merely a point.

Stage 2: Malchut is built up and a structure (called Parzuf) below Tifferet. At this stage, Malchut receives from the higher lights yet from the lower aspects of Tifferet. Malchut is still a receiver.

Stage 3: is when Malchut rises up to the intellectual Sefirot -Chochma, Bina, and Da’at. At this stage, Malchut is equal to the intellectual Sefirot and bestows to the lower one.

Stage 4: Malchut rises up and “shares” the same crown. On this level, Malchut receives directly from Keter- Crown and bestows to all of the Sefirot including the intellectual ones.

These stages, explains the Arizal are the stages of the moon’s descent and subsequent ascent when the moon will reassume its power of illumination.

These stages are the deeper message conveyed in the Talmud (Chulin 60b).


Rabbi Shimon b. Pazzi pointed out a contradiction [between verses]. One verse says: And God made the two great lights, and immediately the verse continues: The greater light … and the lesser light.

The moon said unto the Holy Blessed One, “Sovereign of the Universe! Is it possible for two kings to wear one crown?” God answered: “Go then and make yourself smaller.” “Sovereign of the Universe!” cried the moon, “Because I have suggested that which is proper must I then make myself smaller?” God replied: “Go and you will rule by day and by night.” “But what is the value of this?” cried the moon. “Of what use is a lamp in broad daylight?” God replied: “Go, Israel will reckon by you the days and the years.” “But it is impossible,” said the moon, “to do without the sun for the reckoning of the seasons, as it is written: And let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years”? [God responded:] “Go, the righteous will be named after you: Jacob the Small, Samuel the Small, David the Small.”

Chassidut explains (Rebbe Rashab Samech Vav 285) that generally Zeir Anpin is Mashpia- bestower and Malchut is the receiver. The domain of the highest world of Atzilut and the light of Ain Sof- the infinite light is within the Divine expression within the higher Sefirot. The domain of time and space and the 3 lower worlds of Beriya, Yetzira, and Assia are the expression of Malchut.

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