Isaiah 40:26

July 18, 2014, by

The Radak explains that, metaphysically, each star has a role it accomplishes here on Earth. G-d ensures that none of them is missing because if one was, its job wouldn’t get done.

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Psalms 22:4

July 18, 2014, by

Uva l’Tziyon includes a version of kedusha called “kedusha d’sidrah.” The Talmud in Sotah (49a) says that after the Temple was destroyed, every day was more cursed than the one before. The Talmud asks: if things are always getting worse, what keeps the world going? It answers, the kedusha recited in Uva l’Tziyon and the […]

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Isaiah 59:20

July 18, 2014, by

A large number of verses, collectively known as “Uva L’Tziyon” (from this verse) is recited at the end of the morning service. The redeemer is the moshiach (the messiah) and Tziyon (Zion) refers specifically to the Temple mount, or more generally to Jerusalem. Rashi explains that the moshiach will not come when Jerusalem lies in […]

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Psalms 20:7

July 18, 2014, by

Psalm 20 is recited after the second Ashrei in the morning service. Rashi explains this verse as follows: King David, the author of Psalms, is saying that since G-d saved him by making his army victorious over the rebellion (in II Samuel 18), David knows that G-d still desires him as king and will continue […]

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Deuteronomy 3:24

July 18, 2014, by

G-d’s four-letter Name (YHVH) is normally read as if it were written “Adonai,” but in this verse, the actual word “Adonai” is followed by G-d’s four-letter Name. We therefore pronounce YHVH in this instance as if it were written “Elohim.” Rashi explains this combination of Names to mean that G-d is merciful in judgment.

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Isaiah 1:1

July 16, 2014, by

The Talmud (Megillah 10b) tells us that Isaiah’s father, Amotz, was the brother of King Amatziah. This made Isaiah first cousins with Uziyahu, who was king when Isaiah became a prophet. The ibn Ezra explains that this is why Isaiah was not subject to the constant persecutions that Jeremiah suffered: he was protected as a […]

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Psalms 145:14

July 16, 2014, by

Ashrei is repeated at the end of the morning service. An alphabetic acrostic, the Psalm is missing a verse beginning with the Hebrew letter Nun. The Talmud in Brachos (4b) explains that it was omitted because it is the first letter of nfl, meaning to fall, as in Amos 5:2, “Fallen, never to arise is […]

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Eicha 5:21

July 16, 2014, by

This verse is recited as the ark is closed. It comes from the end of the book of Eicha (Lamentations), which is read on Tisha b’Av. The ibn Ezra explains exactly where we wish to be restored: to Jerusalem, so that we may once again serve G-d as we did before the Temple was destroyed.

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Proverbs 3:18

July 16, 2014, by

This verse is recited as the Torah is replaced in the ark. The Metzudas David understands the second part to mean “fortunate are the ones who safeguard the Torah,” i.e., by taking preventive measures in order to stay far from transgression.

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Deuteronomy 1:1

July 16, 2014, by

The book of Devarim is also known as “Mishneh Torah,” generally taken to mean “the repetition of the law” (from which the name “Deuteronomy” is derived). While many mitzvos are repeated throughout the book, many are not – and many mitzvos are introduced for the first time in this book! Rabbi Menachem Leibtag of the […]

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