The Day God Became King/Malkhuyot - Rosh Hashanah

In the Malkhuyot section of the Mussaf Amidah for Rosh HaShanah, the root of the word "melekh," or king, is featured twenty-six times...

ומפני מה אמרה תורה נסכו מים בחג אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא נסכו לפני מים בחג כדי שיתברכו לכם גשמי שנה ואמרו לפני בראש השנה מלכיות זכרונות ושופרות מלכיות כדי שתמליכוני עליכם זכרונות כדי שיעלה זכרוניכם לפני לטובה ובמה בשופר

And recite before Me on Rosh HaShana verses that mention Kingships, Remembrances, and Shofarot: Kingships so that you will crown Me as King over you; Remembrances so that your remembrance will rise before Me for good; and with what will the remembrance rise? It will rise with the shofar.


  • In the Malkhuyot (kingships) set of prayers, we actively coronate God - we give God a crown and appoint God as the king. What does it mean to "crown God as king over [us]?" How does this differ from the process of appointing a human king? In what ways other ways do you imagine a divine king might differ from a human king?
  • Rosh HaShanah honors the day humankind was created, and it is simultaneously the day God is 'born' as king. What would happen if humankind did not coronate God? Where would that leave God? What does this suggest about the relationship between humans and God? What about their respective roles and expectations?
  • Do you think there is some human need for a divine king? What motivates such a need? What are the challenges and opportunities of having accepted an authority figure?
  • The prayer is called Malkhuyot, which is the plural of Malkhut (kingship). Why do you think it is in the plural? Are there multiple types of kings in our world? Where does God's power of the world end, and our's begin?

MALCHUYOT - by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat,

What does it mean
to proclaim Your sovereignty
when we don't understand kings?
Before the Big Bang, there was You.

In the old year
we allowed habits to rule us.
Help us throw off that yoke
so our best selves may serve You.

Help us surrender. The cosmos
is not under our control.
Help us fall to our knees
and find home in Your embrace.

Let Your power increase in the world.
Help us be unashamed of yearning.
Strengthen our awe and our love
so our prayers will soar.