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Festival Prayers: Pesukei D’Zimrah: Shavuot: HaKeil, HaGadol

“O, The Power, in the omnipotence of Your strength, great in the glory of Your Name, mighty forever and awesome through Your awesome deeds, O King, enthroned upon a high and lofty throne.”


Rabbi Meir wrote that on Shavuot the Chazan should begin from, “HaKeil, bi’ta’atumot uzecha,” “The Power, in the omnipotence of Your strength,” because of the Giving of the Torah is described as Oz, as in, “God will give might to His people (Psalms 29:11).” On Succot and Shemini Atzeret the Chazan begins with, “HaGadol bichvod shimecha,” “Great in the glory of Your Name,” for it is written, “You have exalted Your nation, God; You have exalted the nation by whom You are honored (Isaiah 26:15),” and The Pesikta (d’Rav Kahana 194:2) applies this verse to the Patriarchs. On Pesach he should begin with, “HaGibbor laNetzach,” “Mighty forever,” as His might was so manifest at the Splitting of the Sea, when the Holy One Blessed is He, appeared as a Young Warrior. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Chazan begins with, “HaMelech,” “The King,” as He sits on the Throne to judge. (Kol Bo 37)

Kavanah for First Day of Shavuot:

Based on, “God will give might to His people.”

Our Sages taught, “Why was the Torah given to Israel? Because they are bold (Beitzah 25b).” This boldness is considered a good quality, as the Mishna teaches, “Be bold as a leapard (Avot 5:23).” Israel uses this boldness to subjugate the physical so that it can become an appropriate vessel to receive the soul. Through this we can understand what the Sages taught, “There is no vessel that can retain blessing except for peace (Uktzin),” the type of peace that only comes through boldness acquired through Torah to overcome the physical so that it is at peace with the holy. (Toledot Yaakov Yosef, Chukat)

“Empower us with the boldness of Torah to overcome the distraction of the physical and train it to be at peace with the holy through our Torah so that we can receive and retain Your unlimited blessing.”

Kavanah for Second Day of Shavuot:

Based on, “God will give might to His people, God will bless His people with peace.”

“The only might is Torah (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 2:10; See Zevachim 116a).” What is the connection between Torah and peace? The Alshich haKadosh (Bamidbar 25:12) explains that a soul that sins lacks peace between this world and the World to Come, the World of Eternal Life. At Sinai we merited to experience perfect balance between the two Worlds and were at peace. This will be the peace of the World to Come.

“Grant us the blessing of Torah so that we can experience peace between this World and the World to Come, just as we did on the first Shavuot.”

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