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Micha 7:20
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Where did G-d promise that? Rashi says at the Akeidah (the binding of Isaac). There, the Torah recounts, “…’I swear by Myself,’ says Hashem, ‘because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son’…” (Genesis 22:16). This verse is recited as part of U’va l’Tziyon.
Psalms 86:5
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This verse is recited as part of U’va l’Tziyon. At first glance, it appears that G-d is “good, forgiving, and full of mercy” to all those who call upon Him but, actually, those are three separate things. The ibn Ezra clarifies that G-d is (a) “good” – to those who are good, (b) “forgiving” – […]
Deuteronomy 17:18
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This verse recounts the obligation of a Jewish king to write a Torah scroll. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 21b) explains that the king actually wrote two copies of the Torah – one was placed in his treasury and the other remained with him at all times.
Isaiah 40:26
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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.
Psalms 22:4
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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 […]
Isaiah 59:20
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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 […]
Psalms 20:7
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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 […]
Deuteronomy 3:24
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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.
Isaiah 1:1
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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 […]
Psalms 145:14
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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 […]