netzach shebbe malchus

(victory within sovereignty)

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

Netzach, most commonly associated with “victory” may also be reckoned as success and accomplishment. In combination with malchus (sovereignty, autonomy, self-worth), one topic that might be relevant is the relation of success to autonomy. For example, what is the effect of success on the autonomy of an individual? Success in any endeavor would strengthen one’s sense of autonomy. Accomplishments are akin to gemstones in the crown of a king, each one sparkling in its place. Another metaphor, a crown of laurels, received by those who are honored. Yet, there is a saying, that it is not wise to rest on one’s laurels.

Another way to symbolize accomplishments is like fruit on a tree. According to scripture, man is likened to a tree. In like manner that a tree is able to bear fruit, man, through his mitzvot (good deeds) may also bear fruit. Continuing the metaphor, fruits on a tree may be partaken of by all who enter the orchard. Therefore, following the metaphor, accomplishments that benefit others are more like fruits on a tree. The yield of fruit is seasonal, and may be continually renewed year after year.

I prefer not to speak about “success” as an abstract attainment, as if it is a level that one reaches, or a pinnacle that one stands upon. I am more inclined to speak about success in terms of individual accomplishments. A substantial amount of good deeds done for the sake of others will bear fruit in the lives of the recipients. The value of these mitzvot will accrue over time, gaining interest as they continue to influence others in a positive way. In this sense, any measure of overall success would be dependent upon how much good we have done in this world.

Omer Day 46

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