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As we continue our travels through tefillah, we just finished the second bracha in the Shemoneh Esrei. At this point, when the chazzan says over for us the Shemoneh Esrei, we chant the lofty prayer of Kedusha. As a preface, we acknowledge that we learned this special prayer from the angels. We say, “Nikadeish es Shimcha b’olam, k’Sheim she’makdishim oso b’Shmei marom – Let us sanctify Your Name in this world as the angels sanctify You in the Heavens above.” The Menucha v’Kedusha adds that this is also a request that we should merit to do so with the full concentration and depth as do the angels.

However, I’d like to point out that in one way our prayers transcend the praise of the angels. The angels praise Hashem without bechira. They have no choice but to sing to Hashem. We however can choose not to go to shul and daven at home where we would not have the ability to say this prayer which can only be said in a minyan, a quorum of ten men. We can even foolishly decide to skip davening entirely. Since we are making the right choice, our prayer is much more meaningful.


This idea can be seen when Yaakov fought with the malach. After the malach saw that he could not prevail over Yaakov, the malach requested from him, “Shalcheini ki alah hashachar – Release me for it is dawn.” Rashi adds, “V’tzorech ani lomeir shira – And I need to go and sing to Hashem.” The obvious question is: Why didn’t the angel say, “I want to go sing to Hashem?” After all, we are recommended to say, “I want to bentch,” and “I want to daven,” and not to say, “I need to bentch,” or “I need to daven.” The answer is, as we have explained, the angel needs to pray. He doesn’t have the luxury to want to pray. We have the privilege of choice and because of this our prayers are that much greater.

This also answers a perplexing feature of the angels’ chant. They say, Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh, Hashem Tzva-os, m’lo kol ha’aretz kivodo – Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts Who fills the whole world with glory.” Since the angels are saying this chant, wouldn’t it make more sense for them to testify that Hashem fills the heavens (which are suffused with more holiness than our material earth) with His glory. The answer is with our theme. In Heaven, everyone is programmed to praise Hashem. Thus, it is not so special that everyone is singing Hashem’s praises. But, concludes the Iyun Tefillah, on earth we have a choice, and we still shout out in unison all over the globe about Hashem’s holiness. This is a greater proof of Hashem’s incredible Honor.

To appreciate how great the opportunity of saying Kedusha is, let me share with you the words of the Mishna Berurah [125:5]. (Check this out with your family!) The Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, zy”a, quotes from the ancient Sefer Heicholos, that Hashem has no enjoyment in this world like the moment [when we say Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh] that our eyes are raised to Hashem and His eyes gaze to us. At that moment, He grabs hold of His throne of honor at the image of Yaakov which is upon it, hugs it, kisses it, and remembers our merit and quickens the redemption. So, the saying of Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh (while elevating our feet and looking heavenward) is an auspicious moment indeed.

The three-time saying of Kadosh is explained by the Targum Yonason ben Uziel, which we actually say in the prayer of U’va l’Tzion. He explains that Hashem is holy above in heaven, holy below on Earth, and He is holy forever and ever. The thrice mentioning of Kadosh, says the Lekutei Torah, is also a prayer that we should merit to bring Kedusha down to our thoughts, our speech and our actions.

We then echo the angels and say, Baruch kavod Hashem mimkomo – Blessed is the glory of Hashem from His place.” Reb Chaim Volozhin, zt”l, zy”a, explains that we are only able to know some of Hashem’s manifestations that emanate from His place like His life-giving qualities, His mercy, His judgment. But, the actual essence of Hashem we cannot comprehend. Rav Soloveitchik, zt”l, zy”a, says this idea, as cited in the Nefesh HaRav, from the concluding stanza of Aleinu, “Vihayah Hashem liMelech al kol ha-aretz, bayom hahu yihyeh Hashem Echad u’Shemo Echad – And it will be on that day that Hashem will be One and His Name will be One.” His Name refers to the different magnifications of Hashem that we recognize and know Him by. But Hashem himself is beyond our comprehension.

In the merit of the awesome prayer of Kedusha, may Hashem bless us with long life, good health and everything wonderful.


Transcribed and edited by Shelley Zeitlin.

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Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss is now stepping-up his speaking engagement and scholar-in-residence weekends. To book him for a speaking circuit or evening in your community, please call Rabbi Daniel Green at 908.783.7321. To receive a weekly cassette tape or CD directly from Rabbi Weiss, please write to Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, P.O. Box 658 Lakewood, New Jersey 08701 or contact him at [email protected]. Attend Rabbi Weiss’s weekly shiur at Rabbi Rotberg’s Shul in Toms River, Wednesday nights at 9:15 or join via zoom by going to and entering meeting code 7189163100, or more simply by going to Rabbi Weiss’s Daf Yomi shiurim can be heard LIVE at 2 Valley Stream, Lakewood, New Jersey Sunday thru Thursday at 8 pm and motzoi Shabbos at 9:15 pm, or by joining on the zoom using the same method as the Chumash shiur. It is also accessible on Kol Haloshon at (718) 906-6400, and on To Sponsor a Shiur, contact Rav Weiss by texting or calling 718.916.3100 or by email [email protected]. Shelley Zeitlin takes dictation of, and edits, Rabbi Weiss’s articles.