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Angelic Praises

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JewishTreats.org

During the morning and afternoon prayer services (Shacharit and Mincha), when prayers are recited in the presence of a minyan (quorum of ten), the Amidah (the central standing prayer, also known as Sh’moneh Esrei) is repeated aloud by the prayer leader. The Amidah is also repeated during Musaf, the additional prayer service that is recited on Shabbat and holidays following Shacharit, detailing the additional offerings that were brought in the Temple in Jerusalem.

This repetition allows all members of the congregation, including those unable to read the original Hebrew prayers, to participate in the service by simply responding “amen” to each of the blessings of the Amidah. The congregational practice of everyone listening to the repetition alleviates the possibility of embarrassing those who do not know how to recite the prayers properly.

The repetition of the Amidah also includes the Kedusha, a special expansion of the blessing of the sanctification of God’s name that can only be recited in the presence of a minyan. This recitation is a fulfillment of the message conveyed by the verse in Leviticus 22:32: “…and I will be sanctified among the children of Israel…”

The crux of the Kedusha prayer, which is recited responsively between the prayer leader and the congregation, are the following three Biblical verses:

“Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh, Ah’doh’nai Tz’va’ot, m’loh chol ha’aretz k’vodo” Holy, holy, holy, the Lord of Hosts, the whole world is filled with His glory (Isaiah 6:3).

“Baruch k’vod Ah’doh’nai mim’komo” Blessed is the honor of God from His place (Ezekiel 3:12).

“Yim’loch Ah’doh’nai l’oh’lahm, Eh’lohai’ich Tzion, l’dohr va’dohr, halleluyah” God shall reign forever, Your God O’ Zion, from generation to generation, hallelujah (Psalms 146:10).

According to the prophets, these first two lines are the songs of praise recited daily by the angels in the heavens. In imitation of the angels, during the recitation of the Kedusha, one stands with his/her feet together. There is also a custom of lifting one’s heels each time the word Kadosh (Holy) is pronounced in the first verse.

Copyright © 2011 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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