Shemoneh Esrei: Blessings 3 & 4: Holiness of G-d & Discernment
Shemoneh Esrei: 3rd Blessing – Holiness of G-d
- Blessing G-d because He is holy, it not an acknowledgement of His “sinlessness.” Holiness is not a moral quality. It is an “otherness” quality. He is not like us, He is separate, unique and distinct.
- His holiness, is a quality that demands that those who worship Him be holy as well. Holy to him. That is, separated and set aside for Him alone.
- This blessing praises G-d for distinctness, and then declares our fidelity to Him. We are set aside to Him alone. We are to be holy (imperfectly) because He is holy (absolutely).
- With a minyan, for Morning, and Afternoon prayers, this blessing is significantly longer, with an echo of the angelic praises of Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 3, and Revelation 4.
- This blessing is one that is truly focused on a mystery: holiness. It is “other world-ness.”
Scriptures for Kedushat HaShem [Holiness of G-d]
But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.
Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: "You shall be holy, for I HaShem your G-d am holy."
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Yeshua Messiah; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
Kedushat HaShem [Holiness of G-d]
You are Holy
and Your Name is Holy
uk’doshim b’chal yom y’hal’lucha, selah
Seekers and holy ones join in the worship of You this day and every day
Baruch Atah HaShem, ha Ek ha kadosh.
Blessed art Thou, HaShem, for You are a holy G-d.
Shemoneh Esrei: 4th Blessing – Discernment
- Because our perception of the Almighty is primarily intellectual, this is a petition for knowledge, wisdom and discernment in order to perceive and know Him.
- This is a petition for a bridge of understanding between the common and sacred.
- This was Solomon’s petition – and was granted to him.
- Unlike the “wisdom” or knowledge of this world, binah cannot be obtained except by the work of the Almighty. This is the opposite of the way that we sought for knowledge in the Garden.
- This is also a petition for the ability to pray: “If there is no understanding, how can their be prayer?” y.Berachot 4:3
Scriptures for Binah [Discernment]
And I have filled him with the Spirit of G-d, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of G-d, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the L-rd, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of G-d…
Atah chonen l’adam da’at
You graciously give man understanding
um’lamed l’enosh binah
and teach mortal men wisdom
Chaneinu meyit’cha dei’ah, binah, v’haskel
Generously endow us with Your understanding, wisdom, and discernment
Baruch Atah HaShem, chonen ha da’at
Blessed art Thou, HaShem, Who gives understanding!