For anyone steeped in Kabbalah, familiar active letters dart into new cosmologies. For anyone steeped in cosmology, the antics of those letters introduce fresh questions about the world. For everyone else, and probably for those mystics and seers too, Malkah’s Notebook will offer nested challenges, like so many matryoshka dolls, ornately painted mysteries lurking inside mysteries lurking inside mysteries. As much is written between the letters and in the spaces inside the letters as in the letters themselves.
Category: the rebbe’s queer daughters
Alternate Teaching: The Tale of the Rebbe’s Queer Daughters — Hebrew title: מגילת מלכה
This is a tale I’ve been writing for my father. It started a number of years ago, in time for him to read sections — especially Part II which is inspired by his travels with R’ K (of supposed blessed memory), his travels with both of us (the Reb and me) at his side, and his travels with me alone, mostly in North Africa. But make no mistake: this is no memoir, it is a tale. And a tale is the only way this particular story can be told.
What differs, then between ‘the rebbe’s queer daughters’ and ‘tzaddik stories’ is that the latter consists of memories, while the former consists, in part, of dreams. Perhaps that’s all that needs saying. At least for now.
As our kaddish year comes to a close, I am so all kaddished-out. Nevertheless, there’s more to say. And what remains to be told is this — the tale of the rebbe’s queer daughters. It comes with my father’s blessing, and for that I am grateful.
The Hebrew title for this work is ‘Megilat Malkah’ — which could perhaps be translated as ‘Malkah’s Tale,’ although that’s far from a literal translation. For now, that will have to do. The numbers following each title identify the part.chapter.section of the tale. Thus, 1.1.1 refers to Part I, Chapter I, Section I of the story.
Part I — The Rebbe’s Queer Daughters
Part II — Almighty one, Rebbe nothing
Part III — Malkah, in Occultation
Part IV — The Notebook
While not explicit in the text, these four parts correspond to the Four Worlds. Maybe being explicit about this is helpful. Maybe not at all. Part I stays close to home, in Assiyah, Part II is fairly Yetzirah, Part III attempts Bri’ah and fails of course, and Part IV Atzilut, the sod dimension is there if we can see it.
sephardi pride, ashkenazi arrogance 1.1.9
“Peasants!” the rebbe would mutter under his breath, when his wife Sarah’s customs went too far for his Ashkenazi sensibilities. But of course, her people were not peasants. They were proud of a long and sanctified lineage. Proud of the language they had retained since the 15th century. Proud of those they claimed as their…
avram and the not so barren sarah — 1.1.8
It was not that Sarah was barren—it was more, perhaps, that she had had enormous difficulty holding a child to term. And those she had lost had all been girls and were not counted by the fathers of her lineage, nor troubled over by the master of her house. The rebbe retreated to manuscripts and…
orah, the androgyne — 1.1.7
Malkah, too, however, was not the queerest of them all. There was a fifth daughter that the rebbe had, although that should not be, especially after the fuss of Vavah. Especially after the birth of perfect Malkah. And yet there was one more. And she, needs be, was the mysterious light of the rebbe’s eye,…
enter Malkah upon the broken stage — 1.1.6
The rebbe’s fourth daughter, as I’m sure you must have guessed, was our Malkah, for what other name could this sweet child possess? Malkah was now sixteen and obedient (it would seem) albeit in an ethereal sort of way. She mostly tended the family garden and goats, or ran nimbly up and down the cliff-side…
Vavah steps out into the wicked night — 1.1.5
And so Vavah went out, in day or in night, and that clunker of the rebbe’s car seemed happiest most of all when its engine was revved enthusiastically at night. And when the rebbe’s third daughter escaped her chores and tore out across the gravel drive, her wheels screeched their escape, as they headed off…
the tzaddik’s dollar — 1.1.4
The rebbe sighed frequently when he thought of the enigma of his daughter the so-called Yesodite, but in the end he felt that this too must surely be exactly as it should, and that Vavah, too, must needs be perfect in every way, and that any fault in her lay primarily in his own blindness…
almighty one, rebbe zero — 1.1.3 —
The third daughter of the rebbe tended to be called (affectionately) Vavah. It was one of those perhaps unfortunate infant names conferred upon her at long-last, after her sainted mother claimed to have witnessed her utter those long-awaited first sounds, not even words, but — ו ו ו ו —va-va-va-va. That the chatty babe…
binah in silence — intro — 1.1.2
The twin sephirot, as their father the rebbe liked to call them, were twenty-four when our story begins. And their younger sisters, like clockwork, manifested themselves each precisely two years younger than the previous, all managing, and despite the vagaries of the lunar calendar, to emerge into the world on the first day of Nisan. …
introduction — the rebbe’s queer daughters — 1.1.1
Tell me the tale, she insisted, and so at last I did. And hungrily she wrote it all down, as she thought she ought. For her daughters, and her daughters’ daughters she dedicates this tale. Il mundo si esta kimando in braza biva, y tu estas durmiendo endriva de’l buz The world is…