Weekday, Shacharit, Blessings of the Shema, First Blessing before Shema ימי חול, תפילת שחרית, ברכות קריאת שמע, יוצר אור

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם יוֹצֵר אוֹר וּבוֹרֵא חֽשֶׁךְ עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם וּבוֹרֵא אֶת־הַכֹּל:

Blessed are You, Adonoy our God, King of the Universe, Former1Forming, יוצר, is the act of refining or modifying an original substance, whereas, creating, בורא, refers to creating the original substance from nothing. For example, when one shapes a wooden table, to make it round, he “forms” the wood, the original substance which was “created.” Similarly, God “forms the light” which is His act of modifying or limiting the darkness He created.—Siddur HaGra of light, Creator of darkness, Maker2Making, עושה, is the act of completion, such as when one completes a table by painting it. Similarly, God’s finishing touch of creation is “making peace,” the vessel that holds it all together, as stated in the Mishna, “God found no vessel to contain blessing other than peace.” לא מצא הקב״ה כלי מחזיק ברכה אלא השלום—Siddur HaGra of peace, Creator3The verse in Isaiah 45:7, on which this blessing is based concludes with the words, “and creates evil.” In His original creation, God created the potential for evil, which He constantly limits and controls as the Former and Maker.—Siddur HaGra of all things.

הַמֵּאִיר לָאָֽרֶץ וְלַדָּרִים עָלֶֽיהָ בְּרַחֲמִים וּבְטוּבוֹ מְחַדֵּשׁ בְּכָל־יוֹם תָּמִיד מַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית: מָה־רַבּוּ מַעֲשֶׂיךָ | יְהֹוָה כֻּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִׂיתָ מָלְ֒אָה הָאָרֶץ קִנְיָנֶֽךָ: הַמֶּֽלֶךְ הַמְ֒רוֹמָם לְבַדּוֹ מֵאָז. הַמְ֒שֻׁבָּח וְהַמְ֒פֹאָר וְהַמִּתְנַשֵּׂא מִימוֹת עוֹלָם: אֱלֹהֵי עוֹלָם בְּרַחֲמֶֽיךָ הָרַבִּים רַחֵם עָלֵֽינוּ אֲדוֹן עֻזֵּֽנוּ צוּר מִשְׂגַּבֵּֽנוּ מָגֵן יִשְׁעֵֽנוּ מִשְׂגָּב בַּעֲדֵֽנוּ: אֵל בָּרוּךְ גְּדוֹל דֵּעָה הֵכִין וּפָעַל זָהֳרֵי חַמָּה: טוֹב יָצַר כָּבוֹד לִשְׁמוֹ מְאוֹרוֹת נָתַן סְבִיבוֹת עֻזּוֹ: פִּנּוֹת צְבָאָיו קְדוֹשִׁים רוֹמְ֒מֵי שַׁדַּי תָּמִיד מְסַפְּרִים כְּבוֹד־אֵל וּקְדֻשָּׁתוֹ: תִּתְבָּרַךְ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ עַל־שֶֽׁבַח מַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶֽיךָ וְעַל־מְאֽוֹרֵי אוֹר שֶׁעָשִֽׂיתָ יְפָאֲרֽוּךָ סֶּֽלָה:

He illuminates the earth [and provides light] for those who dwell on it, with compassion;4God causes light to appear in stages, gradually. This is an act of great compassion for if He made it appear all at once, we would be overwhelmed and blinded by its brightness.— Avudraham and in His goodness renews every day, continually,5God is not a far-off observer of a mechanism which He created and ignores, but a Living Ruler, Who guides the universe and continually maintains it. the work of creation. How many are Your works, Adonoy; You made them all with wisdom, the earth is full of Your possessions.6Lit., Your acquisitions: See Genesis 14:22. The King Who alone is exalted from then,7I.e., before Creation, See p. 9: God was King before all creatures were created. Who is praised and glorified and uplifted, from the beginning of time.8I.e., after Creation. Ever since Creation, God has been praised and glorified by His creatures. Eternal God, in Your abundant mercy, have compassion on us, Master, Who is our strength, Rock, Who is our stronghold Shield, of our deliverance, [Be] a stronghold for us. The blessed Almighty, great in knowledge, prepared and made the rays of the sun. [The] Good [One] created [everything] for the glory of His Name:9See Isaiah 43:7: “All that is called by My Name, I have created for My glory.”—Avudraham the luminaries He set around His strength (His throne). The chiefs of His hosts are holy beings,10“Holy beings” are angels. In Hebrew, the word for angels means messenger, and includes all the instruments of Divine purpose, whether in human form, or in the forces of nature.—Kuzari the exalters of Shadai11A name of God (Genesis 17:1; 35:11; 43:14, etc.) which refers to His setting boundaries and limits throughout creation. continually recount the glory of the Almighty and His holiness. Be Blessed, Adonoy, our God, for the excellent works of Your hands,12The Heavenly throne is thus conceived of as surrounded by angels and all the adoring heavenly bodies.—See Isaiah 6:12 and for the light-giving luminaries which You formed; they will glorify You forever.13Those of His creatures capable of praising Him do so. The rest are evidence of His astonishing wisdom and arouse the others to praise Him.

תִּתְבָּרַךְ צוּרֵֽנוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ וְגוֹאֲלֵֽנוּ בּוֹרֵא קְדוֹשִׁים. יִשְׁתַּבַּח שִׁמְךָ לָעַד מַלְכֵּֽנוּ יוֹצֵר מְשָׁרְ֒תִים. וַאֲשֶׁר מְשָׁרְ֒תָיו כֻּלָּם עוֹמְ֒דִים בְּרוּם עוֹלָם וּמַשְׁמִיעִים בְּיִרְאָה יַֽחַד בְּקוֹל דִּבְרֵי אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים וּמֶֽלֶךְ עוֹלָם. כֻּלָּם אֲהוּבִים. כֻּלָּם בְּרוּרִים. כֻּלָּם גִּבּוֹרִים. וְכֻלָּם עוֹשִׂים בְּאֵימָה וּבְיִרְאָה רְצוֹן קוֹנָם. וְכֻלָּם פּוֹתְ֒חִים אֶת־פִּיהֶם בִּקְדֻשָּׁה וּבְטָהֳרָה. בְּשִׁירָה וּבְזִמְרָה. וּמְבָרְ֒כִים וּמְשַׁבְּ֒חִים וּמְפָאֲרִים וּמַעֲרִיצִים וּמַקְדִּישִׁים וּמַמְלִיכִים:

Be blessed our Former,14Some render צורנו “our Rock.” The Gaon of Vilna, however, maintains that it refers to God as our Creator, thus describing Him in the tri-epochal aspect of His Unity: past, present, and future. He was our Creator, He is our King, and He will be our Redeemer. our King, and our Redeemer—Creator of holy beings.15These are the Jewish People, who are sanctified in body and soul. The word Creator implies a creation of real substance—the Jewish People rather than angels.—Vilna Gaon Praised be Your Name forever, our King, Who forms ministering angels; and Whose ministering angels all stand at the height of the Universe, and proclaim with reverence, in unison aloud the words of the living God, King of the Universe. All of them are beloved,16Beloved—there is no envy, jealousy or rivalry among them. Pure—they have no selfish or ulterior motives; they serve God with all their being.—Siddur HaGra all of them are pure, all of them are mighty and all of them perform with awe and reverence the will of their Possessor. And they all open their mouths in holiness and purity, with song and music, and they bless, and praise, and glorify, and revere, and sanctify, and proclaim the sovereignty of—

אֶת שֵׁם הָאֵל הַמֶּֽלֶךְ הַגָּדוֹל הַגִּבּוֹר וְהַנּוֹרָא קָדוֹשׁ הוּא. וְכֻלָּם מְקַבְּ֒לִים עֲלֵיהֶם עֹל מַלְכוּת שָׁמַֽיִם זֶה מִזֶּה. וְנוֹתְ֒נִים רְשׁוּת זֶה לָזֶה לְהַקְדִּישׁ לְיוֹצְ֒רָם בְּנַֽחַת רֽוּחַ. בְּשָׂפָה בְרוּרָה וּבִנְעִימָה. קְדֻשָּׁה כֻּלָּם כְּאֶחָד עוֹנִים וְאוֹמְ֒רִים בְּיִרְאָה:

the Name of the Almighty, the King, the Great, the Mighty, the awesome One; holy17Despite the attributes we use to describe Him, He remains holy—beyond our conception. is He. And they all take upon themselves the yoke18The yoke of Divine Sovereignty is borne willingly and joyfully by each creature as an emblem of his free service to God.—S.R. Hirsch of Divine sovereignty one from the other, and give leave to one another19They take care not to precede one another in their praise of God. On the contrary, each says to the other, “You begin, because you are greater and more worthy than I.”—Avos of R’ Nosson to sanctify their Former in a spirit of serenity with clear speech and pleasantness,20The clear speech of the angels is the holy tongue (pure Hebrew).—Ya’avetz all exclaim Kedushah in unison and reverently exclaim:

קָדוֹשׁ קָדוֹשׁ, קָדוֹשׁ יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת. מְלֹא כָל־הָאָֽרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ:

Holy, holy, holy is Adonoy of Hosts, the fullness of all the earth is His glory.21Isaiah 6:3. Targum Yonoson paraphrases this verse: “Holy [is God] in the highest heights of heaven, the abode of His Divine Presence; holy upon earth, the work of His almighty power; holy [is He] forever and for all eternity.” The Talmud, (Masechcs Chulin 91b) refers to this verse as the “Sanctification of the Angels.” According to Avudraham and Ya’avetz; this Kedushah has been inserted here to refute those who maintain that God relinquished His control over the heavenly bodies, and they are now able to function independently. We are therefore told that all the heavenly hosts proclaim God’s sanctification and dominion over all the universe.

וְהָאוֹפַנִּים וְחַיּוֹת הַקֹּֽדֶשׁ בְּרַֽעַשׁ גָּדוֹל מִתְנַשְּׂ֒אִים לְעֻמַּת שְׂרָפִים לְעֻמָּתָם מְשַׁבְּ֒חִים וְאוֹמְ֒רִים:

And the Ofanim22Ofanim, Chayos haKodesh, and Serafim are various classes of Angels. Ofanim denotes animated wheels as conceived in association with the Heavenly throne. (Avudraham); Chayos are those angels who exist eternally (Ya’avetz; some angels exist only for short times for specific functions.) Serafim indicate “beings of fire.” and the holy Chayos, with a mighty sound rise toward the Serafim. Facing them, they offer praise and say,

בָּרוּךְ כְּבוֹד־יְהֹוָה מִמְּ֒קוֹמוֹ:

Blessed is the glory of Adonoy from His place.23Ezekiel 3:12. According to the Kuzari, God’s glory is a euphemism for God Himself. Thus the verse means, “Blessed is Adonoy from His place,” conveying this concept: God is more blessed (i.e., greater) than His place; He is not confined to any place. Another view set forth in the Kuzari is that “God’s glory” includes the angels. His throne, His chariot, the firmament, and the spheres. These are called God’s glory, similar to a king’s retinue, which is his royal splendor.

לְאֵל בָּרוּךְ נְעִימוֹת יִתֵּֽנוּ. לְמֶֽלֶךְ אֵל חַי וְקַיָּם זְמִרוֹת יֹאמֵֽרוּ וְתִשְׁבָּחוֹת יַשְׁמִֽיעוּ. כִּי הוּא לְבַדּוֹ פּוֹעֵל גְּבוּרוֹת. עוֹשֶׂה חֲדָשׁוֹת. בַּֽעַל מִלְחָמוֹת. זוֹרֵֽעַ צְדָקוֹת. מַצְמִֽיחַ יְשׁוּעוֹת. בּוֹרֵא רְפוּאוֹת. נוֹרָא תְהִלּוֹת. אֲדוֹן הַנִּפְלָאוֹת: הַמְ֒חַדֵּשׁ בְּטוּבוֹ בְּכָל־יוֹם תָּמִיד מַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית: כָּאָמוּר לְעֹשֵׂה אוֹרִים גְּדֹלִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּֽוֹ: אוֹר חָדָשׁ עַל־צִיּוֹן תָּאִיר וְנִזְכֶּה כֻלָּֽנוּ מְהֵרָה לְאוֹרוֹ: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה יוֹצֵר הַמְּ֒אוֹרוֹת:

To the Blessed Almighty, they24The angels. offer pleasant melodies; to the King, the Almighty, [Who is] living and enduring, they utter hymns and make praises heard. For He alone is the Performer of mighty deeds, Maker of new things; Master of battles, Sower of acts of righteousness,25Rabbi Pinchos ben Ya’ir was given two measures of barley for safekeeping. The owner forgot about it for a number of years. Rabbi Pinchos ben Ya’ir planted the barley seed, and each year replanted the previous year’s harvest until it grew to be a substantial crop. After seven years, the owner returned to claim his two measures of barley and Rabbi Pinchos told him, “Come I will show you the great fortune you have accumulated.” God does the same with the good and righteous deeds of man. He sows each righteous deed, and when the person is ready to receive his reward, God returns the original righteous investment plus all the accumulated dividends.—Midrash Rabba, Deuteronomy 3:6 Causer of deliverance to sprout forth; Creator of cures. Awesome in praise, Master of wonders, He renews in His goodness, each day, continuously,26Since the blessing began with the praise of God as the Former of light Who continually renews the creation, it concludes on the same note. the work of creation, as it is said: “[Give thanks to Him] Who makes the great luminaries,” for His kindness is everlasting.”27Psalms 136:7. Shine a new light upon Zion,28We pray that we will be worthy of enjoying the original light of creation, which God put aside for the righteous in the future world.—Ya’avetz and may we all soon be privileged to [enjoy] its brightness. Blessed are You, Adonoy, Former of the luminaries.29When reciting this blessing, bear in mind that even though the heavenly spheres appear immense to us and we attach much importance to them because of the vital functions they perform, in the eyes of their Creator they are no greater than worms. On the contrary, His wisdom and providence are more acutely recognized in an ant or bee because, in spite of their minuteness, they are endowed with a complex of faculties and organs.—Kuzari