ק"ש וברכותיה The two blessings יוֹצֵר אוֹר “He Who forms light” and אַהֲבָה רַבָּה “Great love,” are referred to as the blessings preceding Shema ( Maseches Berachos 11a). According to Rambam they were formulated by Ezra and his Court ( Laws of Shema 1:7). You may not interrupt your prayers from this point on until after the Shemoneh Esrei . But you may answer “Amein” to the blessings of הָאֵל הַקָּדוֹשׁ “The Holy Powerful One” and שׁוֹמֵעַ תְּפִילָה “He Who heeds prayer;” say the thrice-repeated קָדוֹשׁ “Holy . . .” and בָּרוּךְ כְּבוֹד “Blessed is the glory . . .” of Kedusha; and answer Barechu. You may also answer אָמֵן יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא “Amein, May His great Name,” when you hear Kaddish.” You may also answer Amein after the blessings of יוֹצֵר הַמְּאוֹרוֹת , “Who forms the luminaries,” and הָבּוֹחֵר בְּעַמוֹ יִשׂרָאֵל בְּאַהֲבָה , “Who chooses His people Israel with love.” For a more detailed exposition of these laws, see Metsudah Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Vol. I, pp. 172-176.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, יוֹצֵר אוֹר וּבוֹרֵא חֹשֶׁךְ. עֹשֵׂה שָׁלוֹם וּבוֹרֵא אֶת הַכֹּל: Blessed are You, Adonoy our God, King of the Universe, Former1 1 Forming, יוצֵר , is the act of refining or modifying an original substance, whereas, creating, בּורֵא , 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, עושֶׂה , 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.” לֹא מָצָא הקב"ה כְּלִי מַחְזִיק בְּרָכָה אֶלָא הַשָּׁלום — Siddur HaGra of peace, and 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.
כשחל יום טוב בחול אומרים כאן המאיר לארץ (שחרית לחול) When Yom Tov occurs on weekdays, continue “He illuminates”. (weekday prayers)
הַכֹּל יוֹדוּךָ, וְהַכֹּל יְשַׁבְּחוּךָ, וְהַכֹּל יֹאמְרוּ אֵין קָדוֹשׁ כַּיהֹוָה. הַכֹּל יְרוֹמְמוּךָ סֶּלָה, יוֹצֵר הַכֹּל. הָאֵל הַפּוֹתֵחַ בְּכָל יוֹם דַּלְתוֹת שַׁעֲרֵי מִזְרָח, וּבוֹקֵעַ חַלּוֹנֵי רָקִיעַ, מוֹצִיא חַמָּה מִמְּקוֹמָהּ וּלְבָנָה מִמְּכוֹן שִׁבְתָּהּ, וּמֵאִיר לָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ וּלְיוֹשְׁבָיו, שֶׁבָּרָא בְּמִדַּת הָרַחֲמִים. הַמֵּאִיר לָאָרֶץ וְלַדָּרִים עָלֶיהָ בְּרַחֲמִים, וּבְטוּבוֹ מְחַדֵּשׁ בְּכָל יוֹם תָּמִיד מַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית. מָה רַבּוּ מַעֲשֶׂיךָ יְהֹוָה כֻּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִׂיתָ, מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ קִנְיָנֶיךָ. הַמֶּלֶךְ הַמְּרֹמָם לְבַדּוֹ מֵאָז, הַמְּשֻׁבָּח וְהַמְּפֹאָר וְהַמִּתְנַשֵּׂא מִימוֹת עוֹלָם. אֱלֹהֵי עוֹלָם בְּרַחֲמֶיךָ הָרַבִּים רַחֵם עָלֵינוּ, אֲדוֹן עֻזֵּנוּ, צוּר מִשְׂגַּבֵּנוּ, מָגֵן יִשְׁעֵנוּ, מִשְׂגָּב בַּעֲדֵנוּ. אֵין עֲרוֹךְ לָךְ וְאֵין זוּלָתָךְ, אֶפֶס בִּלְתָּךְ, וּמִי דוֹמֶה לָּךְ. אֵין עֲרוֹךְ לָךְ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, וְאֵין זוּלָתְךְ מַלְכֵּנוּ לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, אֶפֶס בִּלְתָּךְ גּוֹאֲלֵנוּ לִימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ, וְאֵין דוֹמֶה לָּךְ מוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ לִתְחִיַּת הַמֵּתִים. All will thank You, all will praise You, and all will proclaim: “There is none holy like Adonoy.” All will exalt You, forever, Creator of all. The Almighty Who opens each day the doors of the gates4This is an allusion to the sun, rising in the east. God opens the doors each day to permit the sun to rise. Every sunrise is thus an act of God. of the east and pierces the windows of the firmament; Who brings the sun out of its place and the moon from its dwelling-place; and illuminates the entire world and to its inhabitants, whom He created with [His] attribute of mercy.5God saw that the world could not exist if He were to govern it on the basis of His attribute of pure justice. He therefore joined His attribute of compassion with that of justice and dispenses both justice and mercy as He sees fit.—Avudraham He illuminates the earth and those who dwell on it with compassion, and in His goodness renews every day, continually, the work of creation.6From before Creation. How many are Your works, Adonoy; You made them all with wisdom, the earth is full of Your possessions.7Lit., Your acquisitions: See Genesis 14:22. The King Who alone is exalted from then; Who is praised, glorified, and uplifted from the beginning of time.8Ever since Creation He has been praised and glorified by all created beings. 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. There is none to be compared to You, and there is none other than You, nothing exists without You and who is like You? There is none to be compared to You, Adonoy, our God,9In this world where there are so many false gods, we proclaim that he is Adonoy our God.—Avudraham in this world; and there is none beside You, our King10In the World to Come, God’s sovereignty will be clearly revealed so even now, we proclaim that He is our King. in the life of the World to Come; Nothing exists without You our Redeemer11Ultimate total redemption will come in the Messianic era, and thus we say that God is our Redeemer.—Avudraham in the days of the Messiah; and there will be none like You, our Deliverer,12The resurrection of the dead is the culmination of deliverance and we say that He is our Deliverer.—Avudraham at the time of the resurrection of the dead.
אֵל, אָדוֹן עַל כָּל הַמַּעֲשִׂים, בָּרוּךְ וּמְבֹרָךְ בְּפִי כָל הַנְּשָׁמָה: גָּדְלוּ וְטוּבוֹ מָלֵא עוֹלָם, דַּעַת וּתְבוּנָה סוֹבְבִים הוֹדוֹ: Almighty, Master over all [created] works, Blessed is He13God is the source of all blessing, and is blessed even without the blessing of man. and He is blessed by the mouth of every soul. His greatness and goodness fill the world, perception and understanding surround His glory.
הַמִּתְגָּאֶה עַל חַיּוֹת הַקֹּדֶשׁ, וְנֶהְדָּר בְּכָבוֹד עַל הַמֶּרְכָּבָה: זְכוּת וּמִישׁוֹר לִפְנֵי כִסְאוֹ, חֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים מָלֵא כְבוֹדוֹ: He is most high, over the holy chayos,14Chayos are angels which exist eternally, unlike other angels which exist for short periods for specific functions. and adorned in glory above the chariot;15The “chariot” refers to the retinue of angels at their positions in heaven.—Siddur HaGra merit and uprightness are before His throne, kindness and mercy fill His glory.16First the prayer mentions merit and uprightness, the qualities that man must acquire and live by and then it mentions kindness and mercy, the attributes with which God conducts the world of man.—Avudraham
טוֹבִים מְאוֹרוֹת שֶׁבְּרָא אֱלֹהֵינוּ, יְצָרָם בְּדַעַת בְּבִינָה וּבְהַשְׂכֵּל: כֹּחַ וּגְבוּרָה נָתַן בָּהֶם, לִהְיוֹת מוֹשְׁלִים בְּקֶרֶב תֵּבֵל: Good are the luminaries which our God created He formed them with perception, understanding, and wisdom, strength and power He put into them, to be rulers17See Genesis 1:16. within the inhabited world.
מְלֵאִים זִיו וּמְפִיקִים נֹגַהּ, נָאֶה זִיוָם בְּכָל הָעוֹלָם: שְׂמֵחִים בְּצֵאתָם וְשָׂשִׂים בְּבֹאָם, עוֹשִׂים בְּאֵימָה רְצוֹן קוֹנֵיהֶם: Full of luster and radiating brightness, beautiful is their luster throughout the world, joyous in their rising and happy in their setting, they perform with reverence, the will of their Possessor.
פְּאֵר וְכָבוֹד נוֹתְנִים לִשְׁמוֹ, צָהֳלָה וְרִנָּה לְזֵכֶר מַלְכוּתוֹ: קָרָא לַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וַיִּזְרַח אוֹר, רָאָה וְהִתְקִין צוּרַת הַלְּבָנָה: Glory and honor, they give to His Name,18The steadfastness of their orbits and the efficiency of their functions testify to God’s creation and providence. Thus they reflect honor and glory to His Name.—Avudraham jubilation and joyous song at the mention of His kingship. He called to the sun and it shone with light, He saw and fashioned19God saw that mankind would one day worship the sun and therefore created the moon to diminish the influence of the sun as a total force.—Avudraham the form of the moon.
שֶׁבַח נוֹתְנִים לוֹ כָּל צְבָא מָרוֹם, תִּפְאֶרֶת וּגְדֻלָּה, שְׂרָפִים וְחַיּוֹת וְאוֹפַנֵּי הַקֹּדֶשׁ: Praise [they] give Him, all hosts on high, glory and greatness [are given Him by] the serafim, the ofanim and the holy chayos.20Ofanim, chayos and serafim refer to various classes of angels.—Avudraham
לָאֵל אֲשֶׁר שָׁבַת מִכָּל הַמַּעֲשִׂים, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי נִתְעַלָּה וְיָשַׁב עַל כִּסֵּא כְבוֹדוֹ, תִּפְאֶרֶת עָטָה לְיוֹם הַמְּנוּחָה, עֹנֶג קָרָא לְיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת. זֶה שִׁיר שֶׁבַח שֶׁל יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, שֶׁבּוֹ שָׁבַת אֵל מִכּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ. וְיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מְשַׁבֵּחַ וְאוֹמֵר מִזְמוֹר שִׁיר לְיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת: לְפִיכָךְ יְפָאֲרוּ לָאֵל כָּל יְצוּרָיו, שֶׁבַח וִיקָר וּגְדֻלָּה וְכָבוֹד יִתְּנוּ לָאֵל מֶּלֶךְ יוֹצֵר כֹּל, הַמַּנְחִיל מְנוּחָה לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּיוֹם שַׁבַּת קֹדֶשׁ: שִׁמְךָ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יִתְקַדָּשׁ, וְזִכְרְךָ יִתְפָּאַר מַלְכֵּנוּ, בַּשָּׁמַיִם מִמַּעַל וְעַל הָאָרֶץ מִתָּחַת, עַל כָּל שֶׁבַח מַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיךָ, וְעַל מְאוֹרֵי אוֹר שֶׁיָּצַרְתָּ, הֵמָּה יְפָאֲרוּךָ סֶּלָה. To the Almighty, Who rested from all the creation. On the Seventh Day, He elevated Himself21God elevated Himself above everything He created during the six days of creation. and sat upon the throne of His honor. With glory He enwrapped Himself22This sentence is based on the verse: ה' מָלָךְ גֵאוּת לָבֵשׁ —Adonoy has begun His reign He has clothed Himself with majesty (Psalms 93:1). for the day of rest, a delight, He called the Sabbath Day; this is the praise of the Seventh Day— that on it, the Almighty rested from all His work. The Seventh Day [itself] offers praise and says: “A Psalm, a song by the Sabbath Day: ‘It is good to give thanks to Adonoy.'”23When man is rested from his everyday tasks and freed from everyday problems, he is able to thank God for all His blessings. Therefore glorify and bless the Almighty all beings that He has formed; praise, wsteem, greatness and honor will they give to the Almighty, King, Creator of all, Who apportions rest to His people Israel, in His holiness on the holy Shabbos Day. Your Name, Adonoy, our God will be sanctified, and Your mention, our King, will be glorified in the heavens above and on the earth below. Be blessed, our Deliverer for the praiseworthy work of Your hands and for the light-giving luminaries which You formed —they will glorify You forever.
תִּתְבָּרַךְ לָנֶצַח צוּרֵנוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ וְגוֹאֲלֵנוּ בּוֹרֵא קְדוֹשִׁים, יִשְׁתַּבַּח שִׁמְךָ לָעַד מַלְכֵּנוּ יוֹצֵר מְשָׁרְתִים, וַאֲשֶׁר מְשָׁרְתָיו כֻּלָּם עוֹמְדִים בְּרוּם עוֹלָם וּמַשְׁמִיעִים בְּיִרְאָה יַחַד בְּקוֹל דִּבְרֵי אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים וּמֶלֶךְ עוֹלָם. כֻּלָּם אֲהוּבִים, כֻּלָּם בְּרוּרִים, כֻּלָּם גִּבּוֹרִים, כֻּלָּם קְדוֹשִׁים, וְכֻלָּם עוֹשִׂים בְּאֵימָה וּבְיִרְאָה רָצוֹן קוֹנָם, וְכֻלָּם פּוֹתְחִים אֶת פִּיהֶם בִּקְדוּשָׁה וּבְטָהֳרָה, בְּשִׁירָה וּבְזִמְרָה, וּמְבָרְכִין וּמְשַׁבְּחִין וּמְפָאֲרִין וּמַעֲרִיצִין וּמַקְדִּישִׁין וּמַמְלִיכִין. Be blessed eternally our Former,34Some render צוּרֵנוּ “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.35These 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.—Gaon of Vilna 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,36Beloved—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; all are holy 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 הַמֶּלֶךְ הַגָּדוֹל הַגִּבּוֹר וְהַנּוֹרָא קָדוֹשׁ הוּא. וְכֻלָּם מְקַבְּלִים עֲלֵיהֶם עֹל מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם זֶה מִזֶּה, וְנוֹתְנִים בְּאַהֲבָה רְשׁוּת זֶה לָזֶה לְהַקְדִּישׁ לְיוֹצְרָם בְּנַחַת רוּחַ בְּשָׂפָה בְרוּרָה וּבִנְעִימָה, קְדֻשָׁה כֻּלָּם כְּאֶחָד עוֹנִים בְּאֵימָה, וְאוֹמְרִים בְּיִרְאָה: the Name of the Almighty, the King, the Great, the Mighty, the awesome One; holy37Despite the attributes we use to describe Him, He remains holy—beyond our conception. is He. And they all take upon themselves the yoke38The 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 lovingly give leave to one another39They 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,40The clear speech of the angels is the holy tongue (pure Hebrew).—Yaavetz all exclaimKedushah in unison, with awe, and reverently exclaim:
קָדוֹשׁ | קָדוֹשׁ קָדוֹשׁ, יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת, מְלֹא כָל הָאָרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ: “Holy, holy, holy is Adonoy of Hosts, the fullness of all the earth is His glory.”41Isaiah 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, (Maseches Chulin 91b) refers to this verse as the “Sanctification of the Angels.” According to Avudraham and Yaavetz, 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 הַקֹדֶשׁ בְּרַעַשׁ גָּדוֹל מִתְנַשְּׂאִים לְעֻמַּת שְׂרָפִים, לְעֻמָּתָם מְשַׁבְּחִים וְאוֹמְרִים: And the Ofanim42Ofanim, Chayos haKodash, 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 (Yaavetz; 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 מִמְּקוֹמוֹ: “Blessed is the glory of Adonoy from His place.”43Ezekiel 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.
לָאֵל בָּרוּךְ נְעִימוֹת יִתְּנוּ, לַמֶּלֶךְ אֵל חַי וְקַיָּם, זְמִירוֹת יֹאמְרוּ וְתִשְׁבָּחוֹת יַשְׁמִיעוּ, כִּי הוּא לְבַדּוֹ מָרוֹם וְקָדוֹשׁ, פּוֹעֵל גְּבוּרוֹת, עוֹשֶׂה חֲדָשׁוֹת, בַּעַל מִלְחָמוֹת, זוֹרֵעַ צְדָקוֹת, מַצְמִיחַ יְשׁוּעוֹת, בּוֹרֵא רְפוּאוֹת, נוֹרָא תְהִלּוֹת, אֲדוֹן הַנִּפְלָאוֹת, הַמְחַדֵּשׁ בְּטוּבו בְּכָל יוֹם תָּמִיד מַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית. כָּאָמוּר: לְעֹשֵׂה אוֹרִים גְּדֹלִים כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. וְהִתְקִין מְאוֹרוֹת מְשַׂמֵּחַ עוֹלָמוֹ אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא. אוֹר חָדָשׁ עַל צִיּוֹן תָּאִיר, וְנִזְכֶּה כֻלָּנוּ (יַחַד) בִּמְהֵרָה לְאוֹרוֹ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה יוֹצֵר הַמְּאוֹרוֹת: To the Blessed Almighty, they44The angels. offer pleasant melodies; to the King, the Almighty, [Who is] living and enduring, they utter hymns and make praises heard. For He alone, exalted and holy is the Performer of mighty deeds, Maker of new things; Master of battles, Sower of acts of righteousness,45Rabbi Pinchos ben Yair was given two measures of barley for safekeeping. The owner forgot about it for a number of years. Rabbi Pinchos ben Yair 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,46Since 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.”47Psalms 136:7. (and He fashioned the luminaries, bringing joy to the world He created) Shine a new light upon Zion,48We pray that we will be worthy of enjoying the original light of creation, which God put aside for the righteous in the future world.—Yaavetz and may we all soon be privileged to [enjoy] its brightness. Blessed are You, Adonoy, Former of the luminaries.49When 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
אַהֲבַת עוֹלָם (אַהֲבָה רַבָּה) אֲהַבְתָּנוּ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, חֶמְלָה גְּדוֹלָה וִיתֵרָה חָמַלְתָּ עָלֵינוּ. אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ, בַּעֲבוּר שִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל וּבַעֲבוּר אֲבוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁבָּטְחוּ בְּךָ וַתְּלַמְּדֵם חֻקֵּי חַיִּים לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְךָ בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם, כֵּן תְּחָנֵּנוּ וּתְלַמְּדֵנוּ, אָבִינוּ אָב הָרַחֲמָן הַמְרַחֵם, רַחֵם עָלֵינוּ, וְתֵן בְּלִבֵּנוּ בִּינָה לְהָבִין, וּלְהַשְׂכִּיל, לִשְׁמֹעַ, לִלְמֹד וּלְלַמֵּד, לִשְׁמֹר וְלַעֲשׂוֹת וּלְקַיֵּים אֶת כָּל דִּבְרֵי תַּלְמוּד תוֹרָתֶךָ בְּאַהֲבָה: וְהָאֵר עֵינֵינוּ בְּתוֹרָתֶךָ וְדַבֵּק לִבֵּנוּ בְמִצְוֹתֶיךָ, וְיַחֵד לְבָבֵנוּ לְאַהֲבָה וּלְיִרְאָה אֶת שְׁמֶךָ. לְמַעַן לֹא נֵבושׁ וְלֹא נִכָּלֵם וְלֹא נִכָּשֵׁל לָעוֹלָם וָעֶד. כִּי בְשֵׁם קָדְשְׁךָ הַגָּדוֹל הַגִּבּוֹר וְהַנּוֹרָא בָּטָחְנוּ, נָגִילָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ, וְרַחֲמֶיךָ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ וַחֲסָדֶיךָ הָרַבִּים, אַל יַעַזְבוּנוּ נֶצַח סֶלָה וָעֶד: מַהֵר יאחוז בארבע הציציות בידו השמאלית בין קמיצה לזרת כנגד הלב וְהַבֵא עָלֵינוּ בְּרָכָה וְשָׁלוֹם מֵאַרְבַּע כַּנְפוֹת כָּל הָאָרֶץ, וּשְׁבוֹר עֻלֵּנוּ (נ"א עֹל הַגּוֹיִם) מֵעַל צַוָּארֵנוּ, וְתֹלִיכֵנוּ מְהֵרָה קוֹמְמִיּוּת לְאַרְצֵנוּ, כִּי אֵל פּוֹעֵל יְשׁוּעוֹת אַתָּה, וּבָנוּ בָחַרְתָּ מִכָּל עַם וְלָשׁוֹן, וְקֵרַבְתָּנוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ לְשִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל סֶלָה בֶּאֱמֶת בְּאַהֲבָה, לְהוֹדוֹת לָךָ וּלְיַחֶדְךָ בְּאַהֲבָה, וּלְאַהֲבָה אֶת שְּׁמֶךָ, בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה, הַבּוֹחֵר בְּעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּאַהֲבָה: [With] everlasting love You have loved us50The Kuzari writes, “When reciting the blessing ‘Unbounded Love’ אַהֲבָה רַבָּה , one should bear in mind that God’s Divine influence is especially directed at the Jewish People who receive it as naturally as a mirror receives rays of light. He should also bear in mind that the Torah is the expression of God’s will and through it He establishes His dominion on earth as in heaven. Whenever an individual or a community attains a high degree of spiritual purity, they become worthy of receiving the Divine light to guide their destiny in a miraculous manner far removed from the ordinary course of events which affect the world. This special relationship with the Creator is called love. Adonoy, our God; [With] great and abundant pity51God bestowed His great and abundant pity on us after we sinned in making the golden calf. He not only pardoned us, but gave us the Second Tablets and ordained the construction of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) for His Divine Presence to dwell among us.—Siach Yitzchok have You pitied us. Our Father, our King! for the sake of your great Name and for the sake of our forefathers who trusted in You, and whom You taught statutes of life, carry out your will with a perfect heart, so too, be gracious to us and teach us. Our Father, merciful Father, Who acts with compassion have compassion on us and put into our hearts to understand, to comprehend, and to be intellectually creative, to listen, to learn, and to teach, to preserve, to practice, and to fulfill52We preserve the Torah by not forgetting its teachings; we practice the commandments and we fulfill them by making them permanent parts of our lives.—Siach Yitzchok all the words of instruction in Your Torah with love. And enlighten our eyes in Your Torah, and cause our hearts to hold fast to Your commandments, and unify53Make us single-hearted and undivided in our love and reverence of Your Name. Keep us from distraction of personal thoughts and selfish motives.—Siach Yitzchok our hearts to love and fear Your Name; and may we not be subject to shame,54When one has to receive a favor that is completely undeserved, he feels a sense of shame. We therefore pray to God, that our redemption will not be “handed out” to us without merit and cause us to be ashamed. We proclaim that since we “trusted in His Name” and accepted the bitterness of our exile our deliverance is not totally undeserved.—Siach Yitzchok disgrace or stumbling forever for in Your holy Name— great, mighty and awesome— have we trusted; may we exult and rejoice in Your deliverance. And may Your mercy Adonoy our God, and Your abundant kindness never forsake us. Hasten and bring upon us blessing and peace quickly from the four corners of the earth break the yoke of the nations from our neck and speedily lead us upright55May we return from our exile with our heads held high, not in meekness.—Siach Yitzchok to our land. Because, You are the Almighty, Who performs acts of deliverance,56Even if we do not deserve to be saved in our own merit, save us anyhow because You perform acts of deliverance. and You have chosen us57At the moment God gave the Torah to the Jews at Sinai, we became His chosen people and were brought close to Him for eternity.—Siach Yitzchok from among all peoples and tongues, and You have brought us near our king to Your great Name, forever in truth; with love, that we may give thanks58These final words complete the prayer begun earlier: “Bring us in peace, and lead us upright to our land, so that we may give thanks to You, and proclaim Your Oneness, with love.—Siach Yitzchok to You, and proclaim Your Oneness, with love. and love Your Name. Blessed are You, Adonoy, Who chooses His people Israel with love.
יאמר הקריאת שמע באימה ביראה ברתת ובזיע, יכוון לקיים שלוש מצוות מן התורה: לקרוא קריאת שמע, לקבל אלהותו יתברך, ולהאמין ביחוד השם, וידקדק היטב באמירתה, ויזהר שלא יחבר התיבות זו עם זו, ויאמרה בכוונה גדולה, והכוונה כך: שמע ישראל - הבן ישראל, יְהֹוָה - אדון הכל היה הווה ויהיה, אֱלֹהֵינוּ - אֱלֹהִים שלנו שהוא תקיף ובעל היכולת ובעל הכוחות כולם, יְהֹוָה - כנ"ל, אחד - יחיד ומיוחד - שולט בשבעה רקיעים ובארץ ומושל בארבע רוחות עולם - יכוון שהוא מוכן למות על קידוש השם The recitation of Shema was part of the daily worship in the Holy Temple, and our Sages ordained that it be recited in the synagogue service, providing it a central place in the morning and evening prayers of each Jew. Its importance may be judged from the fact that the very first Mishnah in the Oral Torah opens with the question, “From what time may the evening Shema be read?”
In reading Shema, bear in mind that you are performing a Scriptural commandment. All three paragraphs should be read with kavanah, concentrated intention, on what you are saying. The entire Shema should be recited in awe and reverence as it proclaims the existence and unity of God; the Jews' complete dedication to God and His commandments; the belief in Divine justice; the remembrance of the Exodus and the selection of the Jews as God's Chosen People. These concepts are the pillars of the Jewish faith. Whenever this sign (°) appears (e.g. בְּכָלּ־לְּבָבְ֒ךָ), it indicates that you should be careful to pronounce each word distinctly. In many instances, the last letter of the first word and first letter of the second word are the same, the words might be read as one, which is not the proper way to fulfill the mitzvah of Kerias Shema.
(יחיד אומר: אֵל מֶלֶךְ נֶאֱמָן:) The following three words should be said when praying without aminyan:
(Almighty, faithful King)
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהֹוָה אֶחָד: Hear, Israel: Adonoy is our God, Adonoy is One.59Deuteronomy 6:4. It is customary to recite this verse aloud, the ear hearing what the lips utter. This helps one concentrate on the meaning of this important declaration. Interestingly, the last letter of the first word שְׁמַע and last letter of אֶחָד are written larger than the others. These two letters form the word עֵד “witness”—i.e., every Jew by saying Shema testifies to God’s unity.— Avudraham Customarily one closes his eyes when pronouncing this testimony in order to shut out all distractions, and to concentrate all one’s thought on God’s unity. The last word, אֶחָד “One,” is to be said with special emphasis, drawing it out for the length of time needed to reflect that God, the Giver and Sustainer of life Whose Providence guides the destinies of all men, is the unique God of Israel, that He is alone in His world, ruling all four corners of the universe.
בלחש: בָּרוּךְ, שֵּׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ, לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד: The following line is to be said silently
Blessed [is His] Name, Whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever.60Jacob wished to reveal to his sons the ‘end of the days,’ whereupon the Shechinah departed from him. Said he, “Perhaps, Heaven forbid! there is one unfit among my children.” His sons exclaimed to him, “Hear Israel” etc., just as there is only One in your heart so is there only One in our heart. Ben Lakish explained that Jacob said “Blessed [is His] Name” in response to his sons’ exclamation. The Sages wondered, “Shall we recite it aloud when our teacher Moses did not say it? Shall we not say it at all, when Jacob ordained it?” Thus the Rabbis enacted that it be said quietly.—Maseches Pesachim 56a. When Moses went up to the heavens, he heard the angels praise God by saying, “Blessed [is His] Name, etc.” When he returned to earth, he taught it to the Jewish People. We say it in an undertone so as not to offend the angels. On Yom Kippur however, when we are considered like angels, we are permitted to say בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם aloud.— Midrash Rabba to Deuteronomy
וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָל מְאֹדֶךָ. וְהָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם עַל לְבָבֶךָ. וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ וְדִבַּרְתָּ בָּם בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ בַדֶּרֶךְ וּבְשָׁכְבְּךָ וּבְקוּמֶךָ. וּקְשַׁרְתָּם לְאוֹת עַל יָדֶךָ וְהָיוּ לְטֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֶיךָ. וּכְתַבְתָּם עַל מְזוּזֹת בֵּיתֶךָ וּבִשְׁעָרֶיךָ: And you shall love Adonoy your God with all your heart61Our Sages (Sifrei to Deuteronomy 31) explain “With all your heart” to mean “With all your desires—including the evil inclination,” i.e., subject your earthly passions and ambitions to God’s Law and make them instruments for His service. and with all your soul62The Sages (ibid.) take these words to mean “With your whole life—even to the last drop of blood.” It was such an understanding that led Rabbi Akiva to say, when the executioner was tearing his flesh with iron hooks, “All my life, I have longed for this moment. I have loved God with all my heart and with all my might; and now at last, I can love Him with my whole life.” It was this concept that gave Jewish martyrs the courage to lay down their lives for their faith. and with all your possessions.63The Sages (ibid.) explain, “With whatever lot Providence has assigned to you,” i.e., despite whatever material sacrifice your loyalty to God and to Torah might entail. And these words which I command you today,64The teachings of the Torah should be ever fresh in your minds, as though you received it today.—Ibid. shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them sharply65See to it that your children have a clear, and not a confused, stammering knowledge of the Torah.—Ibid. to your children. And you shall discuss them when you sit in your house, and when you travel on the road, and when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for totafos between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gateways.66Deuteronomy 6:5-9. This paragraph contains 10 commandments: 1) accepting the “yoke” of heaven; 2) proclaiming the Unity of God; 3) loving God; 4) studying Torah (and you shall speak of them); 5) teaching your children; 6-7) reciting Shema in the evening and in the morning; 8-9) putting on the tefillin of the hand and head; 10) putting up mezuzos on the door posts.
וְהָיָה אִם שָׁמֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶל מִצְוֹתַי אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם הַיּוֹם לְאַהֲבָה אֶת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וּלְעָבְדוֹ בְּכָל לְבַבְכֶם וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁכֶם. וְנָתַתִּי מְטַר אַרְצְכֶם בְּעִתּוֹ יוֹרֶה וּמַלְקוֹשׁ וְאָסַפְתָּ דְגָנֶךָ וְתִירֹשְׁךָ וְיִצְהָרֶךָ. וְנָתַתִּי עֵשֶׂב בְּשָׂדְךָ לִבְהֶמְתֶּךָ וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָׂבָעְתָּ. הִשָּׁמְרוּ לָכֶם פֶּן יִפְתֶּה לְבַבְכֶם וְסַרְתֶּם וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתֶם לָהֶם. וְחָרָה אַף יְהֹוָה בָּכֶם וְעָצַר אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְלֹא יִהְיֶה מָטָר וְהָאֲדָמָה לֹא תִתֵּן אֶת יְבוּלָהּ וַאֲבַדְתֶּם מְהֵרָה מֵעַל הָאָרֶץ הַטֹּבָה אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה נֹתֵן לָכֶם. וְשַׂמְתֶּם אֶת דְּבָרַי אֵלֶּה עַל לְבַבְכֶם וְעַל נַפְשְׁכֶם וּקְשַׁרְתֶּם אֹתָם לְאוֹת עַל יֶדְכֶם וְהָיוּ לְטוֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֵיכֶם. וְלִמַּדְתֶּם אֹתָם אֶת בְּנֵיכֶם לְדַבֵּר בָּם בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ בַדֶּרֶךְ וּבְשָׁכְבְּךָ וּבְקוּמֶךָ. וּכְתַבְתָּם עַל מְזוּזוֹת בֵּיתֶךָ וּבִשְׁעָרֶיךָ. לְמַעַן יִרְבּוּ יְמֵיכֶם וִימֵי בְנֵיכֶם עַל הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְהֹוָה לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם לָתֵת לָהֶם כִּימֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם עַל הָאָרֶץ: And it will be— if you vigilantly obey My commandments which I command you this day, to love Adonoy your God, and serve Him with your entire hearts67The service of the heart is prayer, as David said (Psalms 141:2) “May my prayers be acceptable to You as an incense [service].” and with your entire souls— that I will give rain for your land in its proper time,68God will make it rain at night so as not to cause you discomfort.—Rashi the early (autumn) rain and the late (spring) rain;69Reward and punishment are here connected with the rainfalls vital to the Land of Israel. The heavy rains which open the growing season in the fall and the showers which fall while the grain is ripening are of utmost importance. and you will harvest your grain and your wine and your oil. And I will put grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Beware lest your hearts be swayed70One who is satisfied can easily be induced to forget the Source of his fullness.—Rashi and you turn astray, and you worship alien gods and bow to them. And Adonoy's fury will blaze among you, and He will close off the heavens and there will be no rain and the earth will not yield its produce; and you will perish swiftly71No extension will be given. The “generation of the flood” was granted a reprieve of 120 years (Genesis 6:3) because they did not have from whom to learn; but you do have from whom to learn.—Sifrei, cited by Rashi from the good land which Adonoy gives you. Place these words of Mine72Even in exile you must fulfill God’s commandments—Sifrei cited by Rashi upon your hearts and upon your souls,— and bind them for a sign upon your hands, and they shall be for totafos between your eyes.73Between your eyes is not to be taken literally. The correct position of the phylactery of the head (shel rosh) is at the edge of the hair line directly above the place which is between the eyes. And you shall teach them to your sons, to speak them74From the moment your son knows how to talk, begin teaching him the Torah.—Rashi. when you sit in your house, and when you travel on the road, and when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gateways. In order that your days be prolonged, and the days of your children, upon the land which Adonoy swore to your fathers to give them [for as long] as the heavens are above the earth.
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר. דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם וְעָשׂוּ לָהֶם צִיצִת עַל כַּנְפֵי בִגְדֵיהֶם לְדֹרֹתָם וְנָתְנוּ עַל צִיצִת הַכָּנָף פְּתִיל תְּכֵלֶת. וְהָיָה לָכֶם לְצִיצִת וּרְאִיתֶם אֹתוֹ וּזְכַרְתֶּם אֶת כָּל מִצְוֹת יְהֹוָה וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם וְלֹא תָתֻרוּ אַחֲרֵי לְבַבְכֶם וְאַחֲרֵי עֵינֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם זֹנִים אַחֲרֵיהֶם. לְמַעַן תִּזְכְּרוּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֶת כָּל מִצְוֹתָי וִהְיִיתֶם קְדֹשִׁים לֵאלֹהֵיכֶם. אֲנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִי אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לִהְיוֹת לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים אֲנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם: אֱמֶת: And Adonoy spoke to Moses saying: Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them75Rabbi Yehuda bar Chaviva said that this third section was added to Sh’ma because of six important things contained therein: 1. the commandment of fringes, 2. mention of the Exodus, 3. the call to assume the yoke of God’s commandments, 4. the warning against heretical concepts, 5. the warning against straying after sinful desires, and 6. the warning against idolatrous worship.—Maseches Berachos 12b to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations; and they will place with the fringes of each corner a thread of blue. And it will be to you for fringes, and you will look upon it and you will remember all the commandments of Adonoy,76Rabbi Meir says: “the blue thread of the fringes resembles the sea, the sea reflects the heavens, and heavens resemble the Throne of Glory” (Sifrei). The outward act of looking upon the tzitzis leads the Jew to inward spiritual conformity with the precepts of God. and you will perform them; and you will not turn aside after your hearts77The heart and the eyes of a person are the agents of sin—the eye sees, the heart desires, and thus the person sins.—Tanchuma cited by Rashi. and after your eyes which cause you to go astray. In order that you will remember and perform all My commandments; and you will be holy unto your God. I am Adonoy, your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am Adonoy, your God—78Numbers 15:37-41.
You must be careful to connect the last words of Shema, ה' אֱלֹקֵיכֶם (Adonoy, your God), with the word אֱמֶת (is true) without pause or interruption so that these three words form one sentence, meaning “Adonoy your God is true” (Berachos 13a).
הש"ץ חוזר ואומר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֱמֶת The Chazzan repeats:
Adonoy, your God, is true.
וְיַצִּיב, וְנָכוֹן, וְקַיָּם, וְיָשָׁר, וְנֶאֱמָן, וְאָהוּב, וְחָבִיב, וְנֶחְמָד, וְנָעִים, וְנוֹרָא, וְאַדִּיר, וּמְתוּקָן, וּמְקֻבָּל, וְטוֹב, וְיָפֶה, הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה עָלֵינוּ לְעולָם וָעֶד. אֱמֶת, אֱלֹהֵי עוֹלָם מַלְכֵּנוּ צוּר יַעֲקֹב מָגֵן יִשְׁעֵנוּ, לְדוֹר וָדוֹר הוּא קַיָּם, וּשְׁמוֹ קַיָּם, וְכִסְאוֹ נָכוֹן, וּמַלְכוּתו וֶאֱמוּנָתו לָעַד קַיֶּמֶת, וּדְבָרָיו חַיִּים וְקַיָּמִים, וְנֶאֱמָנִים וְנֶחֱמָדִים לָעַד ינשק הציציות ויניחם מידיו וּלְעוֹלְמֵי עוֹלָמִים. עַל אֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְעָלֵינוּ, וְעַל בָּנֵינוּ וְעַל דּוֹרוֹתֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל דּוֹרוֹת זֶרַע יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבָדֶיךָ. —and firm, certain and enduring, upright and faithful, beloved and cherished, desired and pleasant,79The Jew declares his commitment to God, and states that His precepts are not forced upon him. On the contrary, they are beloved, cherished, delightful and pleasant to him.—Siach Yitzchok awesome and mighty, correct80 and acceptable,81Even those precepts that are not easily understood and appear to contradict human nature, are accepted by us.—Siach Yitzchok good and beautiful is this82All that was affirmed above in Shema. [affirmation] to us for all eternity. It is true, that the God of the Universe, is our King, the Stronghold of Jacob is the Shield of our deliverance. Throughout the generations He endures and His Name endures, and His throne is confirmed; and His sovereignty and His faithfulness endure forever. His words are alive and enduring, faithful and desirable forever and to all eternity; for our fathers and for us,83After having affirmed that all that was said in Shema is true, firm, certain, enduring, etc., we take an oath and testify that we accept the “yoke of heaven” upon ourselves as did our fathers before us and as will our children after us, forever and ever. Thus we say in the following prayer: “For our fathers, for us, for our children and for our descendants—Your word is good and lasting—a Law that will never be abrogated.”—Kuzari for our children and for our generations, and for all generations of the seed of Israel, Your servants.
עַל הָרִאשׁוֹנִים וְעַל הָאַחֲרוֹנִים דָּבָר טוֹב וְקַיָּם לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד: אֱמֶת וֶאֱמוּנָה חֹק וְלֹא יַעֲבוֹר. אֱמֶת שֶׁאַתָּה הוּא יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ. מַלְכֵּנוּ מֶלֶךְ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ. גּוֹאֲלֵנוּ גּוֹאֵל אֲבוֹתֵינוּ. יוֹצְרֵנוּ צוּר יְשׁוּעָתֵנוּ. פּוֹדֵנוּ וּמַצִּילֵנוּ מֵעוֹלָם הוּא שְׁמֶךָ, וְאֵין לָנוּ עוֹד אֱלֹהִים זוּלָתְךָ סֶלָה: Upon the first and upon the last, [generations] [it is] a matter that is good and everlasting. It is true and faithful, a Law that will never be abrogated. Truly you Adonoy, are our God, and the God of our fathers, our King the King of our fathers, our Redeemer, Redeemer of our fathers, our Former, Rock of our deliverance; our Liberator and our Saver which is Your Name from old, and we have no other God besides You, ever.
עֶזְרַת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אַתָּה הוּא מֵעוֹלָם, מָגֵן וּמושִׁיעַ לָהֶם וְלִבְנֵיהֶם אַחֲרֵיהֶם בְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר, בְּרוּם עוֹלָם מוֹשָׁבֶךָ, וּמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ, וְצִדְקָתְךָ עַד אַפְסֵי אָרֶץ, אֱמֶת אַשְׁרֵי אִישׁ שֶׁיִּשְׁמַע לְמִצְוֹתֶיךָ וְתוֹרָתְךָ וּדְבָרְךָ יָשִׂים עַל לִבּוֹ. אֱמֶת שֶׁאַתָּה הוּא אֲדוֹן לְעַמְּךָ וּמֶלֶךְ גִּבּוֹר לָרִיב רִיבָם לְאָבוֹת וּבָנִים, אֱמֶת אַתָּה הוּא רִאשׁוֹן וְאַתָּה הוּא אַחֲרוֹן וּמִבַּלְעָדֶיךָ אֵין לָנוּ מֶלֶךְ גּוֹאֵל וּמוֹשִׁיעַ. אֱמֶת מִמִּצְרַיִם גְּאַלְתָּנוּ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, וּמִבֵּית עֲבָדִים פְּדִיתָנוּ, כָּל בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם הָרַגְתָּ, וּבְכוֹרְךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל גָּאַלְתָּ, וְיַם סוּף לָהֶם בָּקַעְתָּ, וְזֵדִים טִבַּעְתָּ, וִידִידִים הֶעֱבַרְתָּ (עָבְרוּ יָם). וַיְכַסּוּ מַיִם צָרֵיהֶם אֶחָד מֵהֶם לֹא נוֹתַר. עַל זֹאת שִׁבְּחוּ אֲהוּבִים, וְרוֹמְמוּ לָאֵל, וְנָתְנוּ יְדִידִים זְמִירוֹת שִׁירוֹת וְתִשְׁבָּחוֹת בְּרָכוֹת וְהוֹדָאוֹת לַמֶּלֶךְ אֵל חַי וְקַיָּם, רָם וְנִשָּׂא, גָּדוֹל וְנוֹרָא, מַשְׁפִּיל גֵּאִים עֲדֵי אָרֶץ, מַגְבִּיהַּ שְׁפָלִים עֲדֵי מָרוֹם, מוֹצִיא אֲסִירִים, וּפּוֹדֶה עֲנָוִים, וְעוֹזֵר דַּלִּים, וְעוֹנֶה לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּעֵת שַׁוְּעָם אֵלָיו. תְּהִילוֹת לְאֵל עֶלְיוֹן גּוֹאֲלָם, בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּמְבוֹרָךְ, מֹשֶׁה וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְךָ עָנוּ שִׁירָה בְשִׂמְחָה רַבָּה, וְאָמְרוּ כֻלָּם: The help84The word help indicates that the recipient also participated in his rescue, whereas the words shield and deliverer indicate that the rescue was made without any help from the rescued party. Our fathers who were righteous, participated in their rescue, and God “helped” them. Since we are not that righteous, God shields and delivers us even though we have no merit.—Siach Yitzchok of our fathers You have always been. A Shield and a Deliverer to them and their children after them in every generation. The heights of the universe, is Your habitation, and Your judgments and Your righteousness [reach] to the ends of the earth.85Alternatively: “Affect mankind to the end of earthly time.” —Avudraham Truly fortunate is man who heeds Your commandments; and Your Torah and Your word86“Your Torah” means the basic concepts of the Torah itself, and “Your word” refers to ethical concepts, derived from events described in the Torah and by the Prophets.—Siach Yitzchok he takes to his heart. Truly, You are the Master of Your people and a mighty King to defend their cause. for the fathers and [their] sons: Truly, You are First and You are Last,87We refer to God as First and Last only in order to preclude the notion that anything existed before Him, and to repudiate the idea that there is an end to His existence. We do not assert that He has a beginning or a fixed term.—Kuzari and besides You we have no king, redeemer, or deliverer. Truly Your redeemed us from Egypt. Adonoy, our God, from the house of bondage You liberated us. All their firstborn You slew, and Israel, Your firstborn, You redeemed.88See Exodus 4:22. The Sea of Reeds, You split for them, and the wicked, You drowned. You caused the beloved ones to pass through, while the waters covered their enemies; not one of them remained. Because of this, the beloved ones praised and exalted the Almighty; and the beloved ones offered hymns, songs, and praises, blessings and thanksgiving to the King, the Almighty, [Who is] living and enduring. (He is) exalted and uplifted, great and awesome; He humbles the haughty to the ground. and raises the lowly,89God humbled the Egyptians who were haughty and raised high the Jews who had been lowly captives in Egypt. to the heights. He frees the captives and redeems the humble, (and) helps the impoverished,90God also helps those who are spiritually impoverished.—Rabbi Yehuda ben Yakar and He answers His people Israel when they cry out to Him. Praises to the most high Almighty their redeemer, blessed is He,91 and He is blessed.92By others. Moses and the Children of Israel sang a song to You with great joy, and they all proclaimed:
מִי כָמֹכָה בָּאֵלִים | יְהֹוָה, מִי כָּמֹכָה נֶאְדָּר בַּקֹּדֶשׁ, נוֹרָא תְהִלֹּת עֹשֵׂה פֶלֶא. “Who is like You among the mighty, Adonoy! Who is like You— [You are] adorned in holiness, awesome in praise, performing wonders!”
שִׁירָה חֲדָשָׁה שִׁבְּחוּ גְאוּלִים לְשִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל עַל שְׂפַת הַיָּם, יַחַד כֻּלָּם הוֹדוּ וְהִמְלִיכוּ וְאָמְרוּ: With a new song the redeemed people praised Your great Name at the seashore! All of them in unison gave thanks and proclaimed Your sovereignty, and said:
יְהֹוָה יִמְלֹךְ לְעֹלָם וָעֶד. “Adonoy will reign forever and ever.”
צוּר יִשְׂרָאֵל קוּמָה בְּעֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל וּפְדֵה כִנְאֻמֶךָ יְהוּדָה וְיִשְׂרָאֵל וְנֶאֱמַר: גֹּאֲלֵנוּ יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת שְׁמוֹ קְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה גָּאַל יִשְׂרָאֵל: Rock of Israel, arise to the aid of Israel, and liberate Judah and Israel as You promised.93As it is said, “And a redeemer will come to Zion and to those of Jacob who repent of their transgression, said Adonoy” (Isaiah 59:20). Our Redeemer— ‘Adonoy of hosts' is His Name, the Holy One of Israel Blessed are You, Adonoy, Who redeemed94While God is always referred to as the Redeemer of Israel, this blessing utilizes the past tense, “Who redeemed Israel,” as it refers specifically to our redemption from Egypt.—Tzelosa d’Avrohom Our faith in the Redeemer of Israel Who redeemed us from Egypt, and our hope that He will redeem us from exile, give us the spiritual energy and courage to stand before Him, to pray and beseech Him for our needs, as we proceed to the Amidah.—Yesodos haTefillah Israel.
(בג' רגלים מתפללים כאן תפילת ג' רגלים:) On Yom Tov, refer to the festival prayers