Halakhah הֲלָכָה

Just as Benei Yisrael have an experience of God in our parashah, the haftarah this week describes Yeshayahu’s vision of God. He sees God’s throne, and angels next to it calling out in praise:

וְקָרָ֨א זֶ֤ה אֶל־זֶה֙ וְאָמַ֔ר קָד֧וֹשׁ ׀ קָד֛וֹשׁ קָד֖וֹשׁ יְהֹוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת מְלֹ֥א כׇל־הָאָ֖רֶץ כְּבוֹדֽוֹ׃
And one would call to the other, “Holy, holy, holy is God! God’s presence fills all the earth!”
This line might sound familiar, because it is part of קְדוּשָׁה (Kedushah), one of our most important prayers. The other key line in Kedushah, בָּרוּךְ כְּבוֹד יהוה מִמְּקוֹמוֹ (Blessed is the glory of God in God’s place), is from a prophecy of Yehezkel (3:12).
Kedushah is recited when a minyan is present, as part of the repetition of the עֲמִידָה (Amidah, the quiet prayer that is central to every tefillah).
Because Kedushah is considered so special, there are some rules for how to treat it with proper respect:
  • The Shulhan Arukh says that people should stand with their feet together during Kedushah (Orah Hayyim 125:2). This is because, in Kedushah, we are mimicking angels, who are described by Yehezkel as standing with a single straight leg (1:7). If you enter shul while Kedushah is being recited, you should pause and stand near the entrance with your feet together until Kedushah is finished, and then come in and find your spot.
  • Some people have the custom to rise up on their toes while saying each “kadosh,” and for the beginning of each of the next lines in Kedushah (Rema Orah Hayyim 125:1).
  • It is extra important not to speak during Kedushah (Rema Orah Hayyim 125:1).
  • If you are saying a different part of tefillah (like if you come to shul late and are catching up), and the rest of the community reaches Kedushah, you should stop what you are saying and join everyone else to say Kedushah. However, if you are in the middle of the quiet Amidah, you cannot make any interruptions. In this case, the Shulhan Arukh says to pause and focus on listening to Kedushah without saying the words (Orah Hayyim 104:7).