Moshe Ben-Chaim



We read in Isaiah 6:3 that the angels “called one to the other and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is God of hosts, the entire universe is filled with His honor’.”  To mimic a sentiment of those perfect beings, we repeat these words in our Kedusha twice daily. We also stand all day on Yom Kippur, again, an attempt to target the perfection of the angels, who metaphorically “stand” as they have no knee joints.

We understand that angels are not physical beings; we know not what they truly are. But in order to express our desire to reach perfection, we mimic those perfected beings. Of course, we must ask what perfection is expressed in the angels’ first “calling to one another”, and then subsequently responding together in praise of the Creator. Why must one call to the other "first"?

An interesting parallel is located in the source for our “Zimun” blessing, which precedes our Birchat Hamazone. The Talmud teaches a dispute as to the source for Zimun. One view is the verse, “Praise God with me, and we will exalt His name as one”. The other verse is, “For the name of God I call, [we shall] give greatness to our God”. In either verse, one person is calling to the others, so as to praise God together, paralleling the angels. Thus, we find a theme in the Torah. A “theme” meaning that which is of great enough importance that it deserves God’s repetition. So what is this importance of one being calling to another?

I believe the lesson here is to emphasize the astounding nature of the Creator. When wishing to bless God, it is initiated by our recognition of His exclusive role as the Creator of the universe. This universe is so stupendous, it requires a Designer of the greatest wisdom. We are convinced of a “Source” for these grand galaxies and billions of stars, let alone the Earthly marvels. And when we realize how great the Creator of all these must be…we cannot remain silent. We must communicate this amazement! Much like the sentiment expressed when seeing a shooting star: “Hey, did you see that?!” is the sentiment expressed by both angel, and man. Not that angels experience human amazement, but they too are awed by the Creator. They too are created, and realize the necessity of a Creator. Both intelligent creations – angel and man – find awe in the universe, to the degree that one cannot tolerate silence. Both creations call to their peers.

These verses teach us that this response, of “how amazing the universe is”, is an essential idea. It forms a theme in Torah, explaining its repetition. Man cannot simply recognize the Creator, but he must become so overwhelmed by God, since this “calling to another” is the only acceptable reaction when recognizing God. Any less a reaction reflects a flaw in our makeup, and in what we value.

With this in mind, we should ask ourselves what occupies our time, speech and interests most; what do we find most riveting? If we are not awestruck at creation and wisdom, but find ourselves pulled more to other involvements, we are missing out on that which can truly captivate us and fill us with extreme excitement and satisfaction. We all seek happiness, and this lesson shares with man what captivates the angels and what will captivate us. We are to mimic the angels, since we too share their capacity of attaining this amazement. 

It is unfortunate that we are derailed from this pursuit, as society and the media entice us with success, fame and pleasures. It is rare that an individual stops, and questions the actions of the masses. We typically assume the masses have it right. But God says they do not. Our sense of reality is distorted: we follow the beliefs and actions of others, without even attempting to discern of they are correct. We ignore what God teaches, since our peers do otherwise, and we might fall from their graces if we walk to the beat of our own drum.

If however we are brave enough to accept that God's words are true, and we invest more time in our Torah and science pursuits...we will do more than simply recognize God's great wisdom. We will be astonished.