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Shabbat Prayers: Kabbalat Shabbat Psalm 29:4

“The voice of God is in power! The voice of God is in Majesty!” Rashi (Exodus 19) teaches that at the time of the Revelation, God “constricted” His Voice according to what the Children of Israel would be able to receive and absorb.


However, the Talmud (Shabbat 88b) teaches, that at the time that the Word came out of the mouth of the Holy One, Blessed is He, the souls of the Israel left their bodies. How can both statements be true, that God constricted His voice, and that the Voice was so powerful that the souls of Israel left their bodies?

Our verse answers the question: God’s voice was first, “in power,” so that their souls leapt from their bodies. This was to teach Israel the power of God’s Word. However, God then constricted His Voice, and, as the verse continues, “the voice of God is in Majesty!” The Majesty, or beauty, was how God measured His Voice so that the people would be able to hear and absorb.

The Children of Israel experienced both the “power” and the “Majesty” of God’s Voice at Sinai. We recite this Psalm in the final moments before we enter Shabbat. Hopefully, we will experience both the power and majesty of Shabbat, and merit being able to hear God’s Voice speaking to us through the holiness of the day.

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