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Moses and the Israelites sang to you together in abundant joy.
And all of them said:

 Who is like you, Adonai, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
Awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
When Your children witnessed Your majesty as
You split the sea before Moses,

This is my God! They answered and said.
Adonai will reign forever and ever!
Thus it is further said, “Adonai redeemed Jacob,
and rescued him from a power mightier than he.”

Blessed are You, Adonai, Redeemer of Israel.


The third of the prayers surrounding the Shema praises God for redeeming the Israelites. It recounts God’s miraculous rescue of Israel’s ancestors from slavery in Egypt by splitting the sea, allowing them to pass unharmed between its ferocious walls of water. That ancient redemption foreshadows God’s future deliverance of Israel—indeed of all humankind—from enslavement to war and poverty, to cruelty and injustice.

“Mi chamocha—Who is like You, Adonai, among the gods that are worshiped?” This is a rhetorical question, whose answer is “Ein kamocha—There is none like You!”
No other god could have created the entire universe (see maariv aravim and yotser, above); given humankind the laws through which we can replicate the harmony of nature in our own lives (see ahavat olam and ahava raba, above); and then redeemed us from slavery.
Creation occurred independent of our human will. The Covenant at Sinai, however, required our active assent. Our ancestors are depicted as saying, We shall listen to everything that God has told us and we shall perform it. “We shall listen” in Hebrew is nishma, from the same root as “Shema—Listen, Israel!” Only if we human beings listen to the teachings of the Torah and incorporate them into our lives will God’s final redemption take place.

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