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Shabbat Prayers: Keil Adon: The Heichalot

“Who can be compared to our Creator, who can be compared to our Lord, who is like Him among the angels who crown Him? In six voices the bearers of His glorious throne, the Cherubim, the Ofanim, and the Holy Chayot sing His attributes aloud before Him.


Each voice differs from and improves upon the previous one: the first voice drives the listener out of his mind, trembling and falling. The second voice immediately causes the listener to go astray and never come back. The third voice causes convulsion and the listener dies instantly. The fourth voice immediately breaks the listener’s scroll and his ribs and body fall apart. The fifth voice melts down the listener and he is covered in blood. The sixth voice causes his heart to pound and his excitement causes him to vomit and his blood runs cold, becoming like water, as it is said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Hosts.”

All these hymns Rabbi Akiva heard, while descnding to the Chariot, and obtained them from the angels singing in front of the Throne of Glory, and from whom it he learnt them. (Heichalot Zutrati)

As we recite, “God, the Master over all works,” we begin to safely enter the awesome Heichalot. This is our opportunity to enter increasing heights of connection to God.

Many authorities are critical of those who sing this prayer because this is not a state one should enter with a relaxed ditty. They insist that we chant this in a more serious tune to appreciate the awesome opportunity.

However, others insist that we seen this prayer with ecstatic joy that we are privileged to accompany Rabbi Akiva as he enters the highest Courtyards in Heaven.

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