המנהג הפשוט בכל תפוצות ישראל לומר ברכו לפני פריסת שמע. ואין לאומרו בפחות מעשרה שכל דבר שבקדושה אינו בפחות מעשרה (אבודרהם). It has become a universally-accepted custom to recite Barechu before proceeding to the blessings of Shema. Barechu, like Kaddish and Kedushah, cannot be recited unless a quorum—a minyan of ten adult males—is present. Barechu is also said by one who is called upon to read from the Torah. The practice of saying Barechu is mentioned numerous times in the Talmud. It is even cited in the Mishna (Maseches Berachos 49b) in the names of Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yishmael.
ואומר שליח צבור: The Chazzan says:
בָּרְ֒כוּ אֶת יְהֹוָה הַמְּ֒בֹרָךְ: Bless Adonoy Who is blessed.
ועונין הקהל: The Congregation responds and the Chazzan repeats:
בָּרוּךְ יְהֹוָה הַמְּ֒בֹרָךְ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד: Blessed is Adonoy, Who is blessed forever and ever.
אין להפסיק כלל בין ברכו ליוצר אור אפילו לדבר מצוה (לבוש). איתא בכתבים בתחלת יוצר אור צריך למשמש בתפילין. לכן כשיאמר יוצר אור ימשמש בשל יד. ובורא חושך ימשמש בשל ראש (פע"ח). 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 תְּפִילָּה "He Who heeds prayer;" say the thrice-repeated קָדוֹשׁ "Holy…" and בָּרוּךְ כְּבוֹד "Blessed is the glory…" of Kedushah; 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 הַבּוֹחֵר בְּעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל 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 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 מַעֲשֶֽׂיךָ יְהֹוָה, כֻּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִֽׂיתָ, מָלְ֒אָה הָאָֽרֶץ קִנְיָנֶֽךָ: הַמֶּֽלֶךְ הַמְּ֒רוֹמָם לְבַדּוֹ מֵאָז, הַמְּ֒שֻׁבָּח וְהַמְּ֒פֹאָר 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 מְסַפְּ֒רִים כְּבוֹד אֵל וּקְ֒דֻשָּׁתוֹ: תִּתְבָּרֵךְ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ בַּשָּׁמַֽיִם מִמַּֽעַל וְעַל הַאָֽרֶץ מִתָּֽחַת עַל כָּל שֶֽׁבַח מַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶֽיךָ וְעַל מְאֽוֹרֵי אוֹר שֶׁעָשִֽׂיתָ הֵֽמָּה 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, in the heavens above and on earth below 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.
תִּתְבָּרֵךְ לָנֶצַח 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: כֻּלָם אֲהוּבִים כֻּלָּם בְּרוּרִים כֻּלָּם גִּבּוֹרִים כֻּלָּם קְדוֹשִׁים וְכֻלָּם עֹשִׂים בְּאֵימָה וּבְיִרְאָה רְצוֹן קוֹנָם: וְכֻלָּם פּוֹתְ֒חִים אֶת פִּיהֶם בִּקְדֻשָּׁה וּבְטָהֳרָה בְּשִׁירָה וּבְזִמְרָה וּמְבָרְ֒כִין וּמְשַׁבְּ֒חִין וּמְפָאֲרִין וּמַעֲרִיצִין וּמַקְדִּישִׁין וּמַמְלִיכִין: Be blessed eternally 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; 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 הַמֶּֽלֶךְ הַגָּדוֹל הַגִּבּוֹר וְהַנּוֹרָא קָדוֹשׁ הוּא: וְכֻלָּם מְקַבְּ֒לִים עֲלֵיהֶם עֹל מַלְכוּת שָׁמַֽיִם זֶה מִזֶּה, וְנוֹתְ֒נִים בְּאַהֲבָה רְשׁוּת זֶה לָזֶה לְהַקְדִּישׁ לְיוֹצְ֒רָם בְּנַֽחַת רֽוּחַ בְּשָׂפָה בְרוּרָה וּבִנְעִימָה, קְדֻשָּׁה כֻּלָּם כְּאֶחָד עוֹנִים בְּאֵימָה 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 lovingly 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, with awe, 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.
לָאֵל בָּרוּךְ נְעִימוֹת יִתֵּֽנוּ, לַמֶּֽלֶךְ אֵל חַי וְקַיָּם זְמִירוֹת יֹאמֵֽרוּ וְתִשְׁבָּחוֹת יַשְׁמִֽיעוּ, כִּי הוּא לְבַדּוֹ מָרוֹם וְקָדוֹשׁ פּוֹעֵל גְּבוּרוֹת עֹשֶׂה 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 חַסְדּוֹ: (וְהִתְקִין מְאוֹרוֹת מְשַׂמֵּֽחַ עוֹלָמוֹ אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא.) אוֹר חָדָשׁ עַל צִיּוֹן תָּאִיר וְנִזְכֶּה כֻלָּֽנוּ בִּמְהֵרָה 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, exalted and holy 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. (and He fashioned the luminaries, bringing joy to the world He created) 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
בברכה זו נכללים דברים רבים כי השם אהב אותנו מכל האומות ונתן לנו תורה ולהאמין בייחודו ושהוא אדון הכל. וכתב בעל המנהגות מה שסמכו אהבת עולם ליוצר המאורות לפי שבה מזכיר יחוד שמו של הקב"ה ונתינת התורה המאירה מכל המאורות. שהשמש אינו מאיר אלא ביום והתורה ביום ובלילה (אבודרהם). In the second of the blessings that precede Shema we praise God for His goodness in giving us His Torah, and pray for His help in the study of Torah. None of our petitions for the material goods of life approaches the fervor of this prayer for knowledge of the Torah and steadfastness in obeying it.
אַהֲבַת עוֹלָם אֲהַבְתָּֽנוּ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ חֶמְלָה גְדוֹלָה וִיתֵרָה חָמַֽלְתָּ עָלֵֽינוּ: אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ בַּעֲבוּר שִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל וּבַעֲבוּר אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ שֶׁבָּטְ֒חוּ בְךָ וַתְּ֒לַמְּ֒דֵם חֻקֵּי חַיִּים לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְ֒ךָ בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם כֵּן תְּחָנֵּֽנוּ וּתְלַמְּ֒דֵֽנוּ: אָבִֽינוּ אָב הָרַחֲמָן הַמְרַחֵם רַחֵם עָלֵֽינוּ וְתֵן בְּלִבֵּֽנוּ בִּינָה לְהָבִין וּלְהַשְׂכִּיל לִשְׁמֹֽעַ לִלְמוֹד וּלְ֒לַמֵּד לִשְׁמֹר וְלַעֲשׂוֹת וּלְקַיֵּם אֶת־כָּל דִּבְרֵי־תַלְמוּד תּוֹרָתֶֽךָ בְּאַהֲבָה: וְהָאֵר עֵינֵֽינוּ בְּתוֹרָתֶֽךָ וְדַבֵּק לִבֵּֽנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתֶֽיךָ וְיַחֵד לְבָבֵֽנוּ לְאַהֲבָה וּלְיִרְאָה אֶת שְׁמֶֽךָ, לְמַֽעַן לֹא נֵבוֹשׁ וְלֹא נִכָּלֵם וְלֹא נִכָּשֵׁל לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד, כִּי בְשֵׁם קָדְשְׁ֒ךָ הַגָּדוֹל הַגִּבּוֹר וְהַנּוֹרָא בָּטָֽחְנוּ נָגִֽילָה וְנִשְׂמְ֒חָה בִּישׁוּעָתֶֽךָ: וְרַחֲמֶֽיךָ יְהֹוָה אֶלֹהֵֽינוּ וַחֲסָדֶֽיךָ הָרַבִּים אַל יַעַזְבֽוּנוּ נֶֽצַח סֶֽלָה וָעֶד: מַהֵר וְהָבֵא עָלֵֽינוּ בְּרָכָה וְשָׁלוֹם מְהֵרָה מֵאַרְבַּע כַּנְפוֹת כָּל הָאָֽרֶץ וּשְׁבוֹר עוֹל הַגּוֹיִם מֵעַל צַוָּארֵֽנוּ וְתוֹלִיכֵֽנוּ מְהֵרָה קוֹמְ֒מִיּוּת לְאַרְצֵֽנוּ: כִּי אֵל פּוֹעֵל יְשׁוּעוֹת אָֽתָּה וּבָֽנוּ בָחַֽרְתָּ מִכָּל־עַם וְלָשׁוֹן וְקֵרַבְתָּֽנוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ לְשִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל סֶֽלָה בֶּאֱמֶת בְּאַהֲבָה לְהוֹדוֹת לְךָ וּלְיַחֶדְךָ בְּאַהֲבָה וּלְאַהֲבָה אֶת שְׁמֶֽךָ: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה הַבּוֹחֵר בְּעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּאַהֲבָה: [With] everlasting love You have loved us30The Kuzari writes, “When reciting the blessing ׳Unbounded Love’ אהבה רבה, 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 pity31God 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 [comprehension] to understand and to be intellectually creative, to listen, to learn, and to teach, to preserve, to practice, and to fulfill32We 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 unify33Make 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,34When 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 upright35May 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,36Even 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 us37At 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 thanks38These 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.—S.Y. to You, and proclaim Your Oneness, with love. and love Your Name. Blessed are You, Adonoy, Who chooses His people Israel with love.
ואומר שמע ישראל. ונהגו לאומרו בקול רם כדי לעורר הכוונה בפסוק הראשון שבו עיקר הכוונה. ולא יאריך באל"ף של אחד ולא יחטוף בחי"ת. ויאריך בדל"ת כשיעור שימליכהו בארבע רוחות העולם (אבודרהם). כל מקום שנרשם עגול כזה (°) הוא כדי להורות לתת ריוח בכל תיבה שתחלתה כסוף האות שלפניה. 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. בְּכָל֯־לְ֯בָבְךָ), 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 The following three words should be said when praying without a minyan:
אֵל מֶֽלֶךְ נֶאֱמָן: (Almighty, faithful King)
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ יְהֹוָה אֶחָד: Hear, Israel: Adonoy is our God, Adonoy is One.1Deuteronomy 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 שמע and last letter of אחד arc written larger than the others. These two letters form the word עד “witness”—i.e., every Jew by saying Shema testifies to God's oneness.—Avudraham
Customarily one closes his eyes when pronouncing this testimony in order to shut out all distractions, and to concentrate all of one's thoughts on God's oneness. The last word, אחד, “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.
יש להפסיק מעט בין אחד לברוך כי עיקר קבול עול מלכות שמים היא פסוק ראשון. ויאמר בלחש: The following two lines are to be said silently:
בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד: Blessed [is His] Name, Whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever.2Jacob 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 ברוך שם aloud.—Midrash Rabba to Deuteronomy
וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ בְּכָל֯־לְ֯בָבְךָ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽךָ: וְהָיוּ הַדְּ֒בָרִים הָאֵֽלֶּה אֲשֶׁר֯ אָ֯נֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם עַל֯־לְ֯בָבֶֽךָ: וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם לְבָנֶֽיךָ וְדִבַּרְתָּ בָּם בְּשִׁבְתְּ֒ךָ בְּבֵיתֶֽךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּ֒ךָ בַדֶּֽרֶךְ וּבְשָׁכְבְּ֒ךָ וּבְקוּמֶֽךָ: וּקְשַׁרְתָּם לְאוֹת עַל֯־יָ֯דֶֽךָ וְהָיוּ לְטֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֶֽיךָ: וּכְתַבְתָּם עַל־מְזֻזוֹת בֵּיתֶֽךָ וּבִשְׁעָרֶֽיךָ: And you shall love Adonoy your God with all your heart3Our 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 soul4The 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.5The 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,6The 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 sharply7See 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.8Deuteronomy 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־שָׁמֹֽעַ תִּשְׁמְ֒עוּ אֶל־מִצְוֹתַי אֲשֶׁר֯ אָ֯נֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם הַיּוֹם לְאַהֲבָה אֶת־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וּלְעָבְדוֹ בְּכָל֯־לְ֯בַבְכֶם וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁ֒כֶם: וְנָתַתִּי מְטַר֯־אַ֯רְצְ֒כֶם בְּעִתּוֹ֯ י֯וֹרֶה וּמַלְקוֹשׁ וְאָסַפְתָּ דְגָנֶֽךָ וְתִירשְׁ֒ךָ וְיִצְהָרֶֽךָ: וְנָתַתִּי עֵֽשֶׂב֯ בְּ֯שָׂדְ֒ךָ לִבְהֶמְתֶּֽךָ וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָׂבָֽעְתָּ: הִשָּׁמְ֒רוּ לָכֶם פֶּן֯־יִ֯פְתֶּה לְבַבְכֶם וְסַרְתֶּם וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֱלֹהִים֯ אֲ֯חֵרִים וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתֶם לָהֶם: וְחָרָה אַף־יְהֹוָה בָּכֶם וְעָצַר֯ אֶ֯ת־הַשָּׁמַֽיִם וְלֹּא֯־יִ֯הְיֶה מָטָר וְהָאֲדָמָה לֹא תִתֵּן אֶת֯־יְ֯בוּלָהּ וַאֲבַדְתֶּם֯ מְ֯הֵרָה מֵעַל הָאָֽרֶץ הַטֹּבָה אֲשֶׁר֯ יְ֯הֹוָה נֹתֵן לָכֶם: וְשַׂמְתֶּם֯ אֶ֯ת־דְּבָרַי֯ אֵֽ֯לֶּה עַל֯־לְ֯בַבְכֶם וְעַל־נַפְשְׁ֒כֶם וּקְשַׁרְתֶּם֯ אֹ֯תָם לְאוֹת עַל֯־יֶ֯דְכֶם וְהָיוּ לְטוֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֵיכֶם: וְלִמַּדְתֶּם֯ אֹ֯תָם אֶת־בְּנֵיכֶם לְדַבֵּר בָּם בְּשִׁבְתְּ֒ךָ בְּבֵיתֶֽךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּ֒ךָ בַדֶּֽרֶךְ וּבְשָׁכְבְּ֒ךָ וּבְקוּמֶֽךָ: וּכְתַבְתָּם עַל־מְזוּזוֹת בֵּיתֶֽךָ וּבִשְׁעָרֶֽיךָ: לְמַֽעַן֯ יִ֯רְבּוּ יְמֵיכֶם וִימֵי בְנֵיכֶם עַל הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְהֹוָה לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם לָתֵת לָהֶם כִּימֵי הַשָּׁמַֽיִם עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ: 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 hearts9The 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,10God will make it rain at night so as not to cause you discomfort.—Rashi the early (autumn) rain and the late (spring) rain;11Reward 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 swayed12One 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 swiftly13No 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 Mine14Even 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.15Between 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 them16From 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.
וַֽיֹּאמֶר֯ יְ֯הֹוָה֯ אֶ֯ל־משֶׁה לֵּאמֹר: דַּבֵּר֯ אֶ֯ל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם וְעָשׂוּ לָהֶם צִיצִת עַל־כַּנְ֒פֵי בִגְ֒דֵיהֶם לְדֹרֹתָם וְנָתְ֒נוּ עַל־צִיצִת הַכָּנָף֯ פְּ֯תִיל תְּכֵֽלֶת: וְהָיָה לָכֶם לְצִיצִת וּרְאִיתֶם֯ אֹ֯תוֹ וּזְכַרְתֶּם֯ אֶ֯ת־כָּל־מִצְוֹת֯ יְ֯הֹוָה וַעֲשִׂיתֶם֯ אֹ֯תָם וְלֹא תָתֽוּרוּ אַחֲרֵי לְבַבְכֶם וְאַחֲרֵי עֵינֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר֯־אַ֯תֶּם זֹנִים֯ אַ֯חֲרֵיהֶם: לְמַֽעַן תִּזְכְּ֒רוּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶם֯ אֶ֯ת־כָּל־מִצְוֹתָי וִהְיִיתֶם קְדשִׁים לֵאלֹהֵיכֶם: אֲנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם֯ אֲ֯שֶׁר הוֹצֵֽאתִי אֶתְכֶם֯ מֵ֯אֶֽרֶץ מִצְרַֽיִם לִהְיוֹת לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים֯ אֲ֯נִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם֯: And Adonoy spoke to Moses saying: Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them17Rabbi Yehuda bar Chaviva said that this third section was added to Shema 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,18Rabbi 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 hearts19The 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—20Numbers 15:37-41.
יש לצרף אֱלֹהֵיכֶם לאֱמֶת You must be careful to connect the last words of Shema, ה' אֱלֺקֵיכֶם (Adonoy, your God), with the word אמת (is true) without pause or interruption so that these three words form one sentence, meaning "Adonoy your God is true" (Maseches Berachos 13a).
אֱ֯מֶת —is true—
שליח ציבור: The chazan repeats:
יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם֯ אֱ֯מֶת: Adonoy, your God, is true.
כל שלא אמר אמת ויציב שחרית ואמת ואמונה ערבית לא יצא ידי חובתו שנאמר (תהלים צב ג) להגיד בבקר חסדך ואמונתך בלילות (ברכות יא:) ופירש"י שברכת אמת ויציב כלה על חסד שעשה עם אבותינו שהוציאם ממצרים ובקע להם הים והעבירם. The following prayer, which culminates with גָאַל יִשְׂרָאַל, Who redeemed Israel, constitutes the "Blessing after Shema" mentioned in the Talmud (Maseches Berachos 11a). It is also mentioned in Maseches Tamid (32b) as part of the morning service in the Temple.
וְיַצִּיב וְנָכוֹן וְקַיָּם וְיָשָׁר וְנֶאֱמָן וְאָהוּב וְחָבִיב וְנֶחְמָד וְנָעִים וְנוֹרָא וְאַדִּיר וּמְתֻקָּן וּמְקֻבָּל וְטוֹב וְיָפֶה הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה עָלֵֽינוּ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד: אֱמֶת אֱלֹהֵי עוֹלָם מַלְכֵּֽנוּ צוּר יַעֲקֹב מָגֵן יִשְׁעֵֽנוּ, לְדֹר וָדֹר הוּא קַיָּם וּשְׁמוֹ קַיָּם וְכִסְאוֹ נָכוֹן וּמַלְכוּתוֹ וֶאֱמוּנָתוֹ לָעַד קַיָּֽמֶת: וּדְבָרָיו חָיִים וְקַיָּמִים נֶאֱמָנִים וְנֶחֱמָדִים לָעַד וּלְעוֹלְ֒מֵי עוֹלָמִים, עַל אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ וְעָלֵֽינוּ עַל בָּנֵֽינוּ וְעַל דּוֹרוֹתֵֽינוּ וְעַל כָּל דּוֹרוֹת זֶֽרַע יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבָדֶֽיךָ: —and firm, certain and enduring, upright and faithful, beloved and cherished, desired and pleasant,21The 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, correct22The teachings of Torah are correct in their totality. They lack nothing and are eternally valid for all situations.—Siach Yitzchok and acceptable,23Even those precepts that are not easily understood and appear to contradict human nature, are accepted by us.—Siach Yitzchok good and beautiful is this24All 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.25After 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 His words are alive and enduring, faithful and desirable forever and to all eternity; for our fathers and for us, 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 חוֹק וְלֹא יַעֲבֹר: אֱמֶת שָׁאַתָּה הוּא יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ מֶֽלֶךְ אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ גֹּאֲלֵֽנוּ גֹּאֵל אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ יוֹצְ֒רֵֽנוּ צוּר יְשׁוּעָתֵֽנוּ פּוֹדֵֽנוּ וּמַצִּילֵֽנוּ מֵעוֹלָם הוּא שְׁמֶֽךָ וְאֵין לָֽנוּ עוֹד אֱלֹהִים זוּלָתֶֽךָ סֶֽלָה: 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 אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ אַתָּה הוּא מֵעוֹלָם מָגֵן וּמוֹשִֽׁיעַ לָהֶם וְלִבְנֵיהֶם אַחֲרֵיהֶם בְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר: בְּרוּם עוֹלָם מוֹשָׁבֶֽךָ וּמִשְׁפָּטֶֽיךָ וְצִדְקָתְךָ עַד אַפְסֵי אָֽרֶץ: אֶמֶת אַשְׁרֵי אִישׁ שֶׁיִּשְׁמַע לְמִצְוֹתֶֽיךָ וְתוֹרָתְ֒ךָ וּדְבָרְ֒ךָ יָשִׂים עַל לִבּוֹ: אֱמֶת אַתָּה הוּא אָדוֹן לְעַמֶּֽךָ וּמֶֽלֶךְ גִּבּוֹר לָרִיב רִיבָם לאָבוֹת וּבָנִים: אֱמֶת אַתָּה הוּא רִאשׁוֹן וְאַתָּה הוּא אַחֲרוֹן וּמִבַּלְעָדֶֽיךָ אֵין לָֽנוּ מֶֽלֶךְ גּוֹאֵל וּמוֹשִֽׁיעַ: אֱמֶת מִמִּצְרַֽיִם גְּאַלְתָּֽנוּ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ וּמִבֵּית עֲבָדִים פְּדִיתָֽנוּ: כָּל בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם הָרָֽגְתָּ וּבְכוֹרְ֒ךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל גָּאָֽלְתָּ וְיַם סוּף בָּקַֽעְתָּ וְזֵדִים טִבַּֽעְתָּ וִידִידִים הֶעֱבַֽרְתָּ וַיְכַסּוּ מַֽיִם צָרֵיהֶם אֶחָד מֵהֶם לֹא נוֹתָר: עַל זֹאת שִׁבְּ֒חוּ אֲהוּבִים וְרוֹמְ֒מוּ לָאֵל וְנָתְ֒נוּ יְדִידִים זְמִירוֹת שִׁירוֹת וְתִשְׁבָּחוֹת בְּרָכוֹת וְהוֹדָאוֹת לְמֶּֽלֶךְ אֵל חַי וְקַיָּם: רָם וְנִשָּׂא גָּדוֹל וְנוֹרָא מַשְׁפִּיל גֵּאִים עֲדֵי אָֽרֶץ וּמַגְבִּֽיהַּ שְׁפָלִים עֲדֵי מָרוֹם מוֹצִיא אֲסִירִים וּפוֹדֶה עֲנָוִים וְעוֹזֵר דַּלִּים וְעוֹנֶה לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּעֵת שַׁוְּ֒עָם אֵלָיו: The help26The 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.27Alternatively: “Affect mankind to the end of earthly time.”—Avudraham Truly fortunate is man who heeds Your commandments; and Your Torah and Your word28Your 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,29We 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.30See Exodus 4:22. The Sea of Reeds, You split 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,31God 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,32God also helps those who are spiritually impoverished.—Rabbi Yehuda ben Yakar and He answers His people Israel when they cry out to Him.
תְּהִלּוֹת לְאֵל עֶלְיוֹן גֹּאֲלָם בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּמְבֹרָךְ, משֶׁה וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְךָ עָנוּ שִׁירָה בְּשִׂמְחָה רַבָּה וְאָמְ֒רוּ כֻלָּם: Praises to the most high Almighty their redeemer, blessed is He,33Intrinsically. and He is blessed.34By others. Moses and the Children of Israel sang a song to You with great joy, and they all proclaimed:
מִי כָמֹֽכָה בָּאֵלִם יְהֹוָה מִי כָּמֹֽכָה נֶאְדָּר בַּקֹּֽדֶשׁ נוֹרָא תְהִלֹּת עֹֽשֵׂה פֶֽלֶא: Who is like You among the mighty, Adonoy! Who is like You— [You are] adorned in holiness, awesome in praise, performing wonders!
שִׁירָה חֲדָשָׁה שִׁבְּ֒חוּ גְאוּלִים לְשִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל עַל שְׂפַת הַיָּם יַֽחַד כֻּלָּם הוֹדוּ וְהִמְלִֽיכוּ 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 לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד: Adonoy will reign forever and ever.
צוּר יִשְׂרָאֵל קֽוּמָה בְּעֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל וּפְדֵה כִנְאֻמֶֽךָ יְהוּדָה וְיִשְׂרָאֵל, גֹּאֲלֵֽנוּ 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.35As 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 redeemed36While 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.
המתפלל צריך שיכוין בליבו פירוש המילות שהוא מוציא בשפתיו. ואם אינו יכול לכוין פירוש המילות לכל הפחות צריך שיחשוב בשעת התפילה בדברים המכניעים את הלב ומכוונים את לבו לאביו שבשמים. יכוין רגליו זה אצל זה כאילו אינן אלא אחת. ויזהר להתפלל בלחש. ולא ירמוז בעיניו ולא יקרוץ בשפתיו ולא יראה באצבעותיו ואינו פוסק אפילו לקדיש וקדושה וברכו (קיצשו"ע יח) Fundamentals of Kuzari, (Metsudah Publications, 1979) pages 269, 271, 273.
When reciting Shemoneh Esrei, you must adhere to these rules:
1. Before beginning the prayer, take three steps backwards and then return to your former position. Upon completing the prayer, take three steps backwards and return.
2. Keep your feet together.
3. Concentrate on the meaning of the words you are uttering. Remove all distracting thoughts and worries from your mind.
4. You may not interrupt Shemoneh Esrei by talking, not even by answering Amein. If you should hear Kedushah, Kaddish, or Barechu while saying the Shemoneh Esrei, you should remain silent and listen to the Chazzan's words.
5. At the beginning and end of the first blessing, at the beginning and end of the blessing that begins: "We are thankful to You," (page 133) and ends with "The Beneficent is Your Name," (page 140) we half-kneel and bow in the following manner: At the word "Blessed," bend your knees; at the word "You," bend forward until the vertebrae of your spinal cord are loosened; at "Adonoy," return to your upright position in keeping with the verse, "Adonoy straightens the bent" (Psalms 146:8).
6. Each individual recites Shemoneh Esrei in silence. Only the prayer leader, the Chazzan, ever recites it aloud, and then only after the entire congregation, himself included, has recited it silently.