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We are in the midst of the month of Tishrei, and there is a very significant theme that was constantly reiterated throughout the prayers on Rosh Hashanah and which in fact transcends the High Holidays and impacts on the entire year.

This is the theme of Malchuyot, as the sages (Tractate Rosh Hashanah 16a) state: “...veimru lefanay beRosh Hashanah malchuyot, zichronot, shofarot; malchuyot kedei shetamlichuni aleichem...” - recite before me on Rosh Hashanah kingships, remembrances and shofars. Kingships in order that you accept sovereignty upon yourselves...” Malchuyot is the plural of the Hebrew word for malchut; kingship. In effect it is the proclamation on Rosh Hashanah that God is a supernal, omnipotent and omnipresent king.

But why is the word in plural form? Could there exist more than one kingship?

I might suggest that this word, in its plural form, actually spells out what we are to focus on during the 365 days of the year: that there are two types of kingship – that of God and that of each and every one of us.

During the period of the High Holidays, as evident from the composition of the prayers, our task is two-fold: to declare God as king and master of the universe, and to declare ourselves kings and masters over those physical matters that drive us away from the spiritual duties of the soul. Like kings, we need to take charge and govern our own ways, dictate the terms for spiritual growth and command the means at our disposal in order to establish attainable spiritual objectives.

In Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 4:1, the Rabbis state: "Who is mighty? He who subdues his personal inclination, as it is said: 'He who is slow to anger is better than the warrior, and a master of his passions than a conqueror of a city'."  Note the interesting approach the rabbis take concerning the nature of a warrior. A word we closely associate with physical strength and tangible muscle power is interpreted here to be of a different kind; that of a person conquering his physical desires.

How does one achieve this?

Although mind and body are, to a degree, two opposites, nevertheless, if balanced they synchronize perfectly and actually serve one another.  The healthy body provides the mind with the physical energy necessary to continue thinking, exploring, wondering, learning and understanding and, in turn, the healthy mind maximizes the ability of the body to produce, harness, utilize, and at the end administer this energy in the most efficient and economic way possible by cognitively dictating the right diet, prescribing just the right amount of sleeping hours, preventing it from risks, prioritizing one’s actions, compartmentalizing one’s decisions by organizing the ‘chaos’ in his head, creating healthy habits and proper routine, and ultimately maneuvering one to focus on what is right, healthy and productive.

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