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Shabbat Prayers: Magen Avot

“He Who was the shield of our forefathers with His word, Who resuscitates the dead with His Utterance, the Holy Power, Who is unequalled (Magen Avot – The Seven Faceted Blessing of Friday Night).”


“Forefathers,” is the Blessing of Avot. “Who resuscitates the dead,” is the second blessing of Gevurot. “The Holy Power,” is Kedusha. However, we can assume that there is a direct connection between “Shield of our forefathers,” and, “Resuscitates the dead,” because of the way this paragraph is worded, and because there are many Attributes listed in Gevurot, and yet this specific phrase was chosen.

We must also understand why, “Shield of forefathers” is associated with word, while, “Resuscitates the dead,” is associated with utterance.

Rabbeinu Bachya (Shemot 13:1) explains that Utterance is an expression of a deeper, more inner feeling, while word is only the surface. Utterance is the Written Law, and word is the Oral Law, which offers only the surface as an invitation for us to delve deeper on our own and discover our own Devarim, as did Moshe in the final Book of the Torah.

It is the one who responds to the word and works until he can find his own utterance, as did our forefathers, who responded to each word and transformed the Upper and Lower Worlds with their application, their Oral Law, who merit Olam haBah, the world into which God resuscitates the dead.

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