Emulating The Angels

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Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik

by R. Aharon Ziegler

According to Rav Soloveitchik, the Written Torah was given to us by HaShem, and therefore we are permitted to recite any Biblical passage aloud. This license is the basis of our ability to communally recite the Kedushah, depicted in the Bible as the song of the Malachim (angels), see Yechesk’el 3:12, or Yeshayahu 6:3. The Kedushah of the Malachim is a responsive exercise, as emphasized in Tefillat Shacharit, “Vechulam Mekablim alei’hem, ohl Malchut shamayim zeh mizeh ve’notenim Reshut zeh lazeh” , “All accept upon themselves, one from another, the yoke of the kingdom of heaven, granting permission one to another”.

Our own Kedushah reflects this celestial give- and -take, with the Shalia’ch Tzibbur initiating each phrase and later to be repeated by the congregation. The Rav stated, that we require special permission to responsively recite the Kedushah, and this sanction is based on the fact that the angels’ proclamations appears within the Written Torah, which was provided to us as a gift. We are therefore allowed to mimic the Kedushah of the Malachim in our own Kedushah recitation. This is referred to as “emulating the Malachim”.

About Aharon Ziegler

Rabbi Aharon Ziegler is the Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Agudath Achim of Boro Park and the Dean and Rosh Kollel of Kollel Agudath Achim. He is the author of six volumes of Halakhic Positions of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.

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