Barukh Sheim

Reciting Shema on Yom Kippur is unique in that we say the second line, “בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד — Blessed is the name of the Glory of His Rule for all eternity.”

Every Shema, after accepting Hashem as our King with the opening verse, we continue by declaring His Kingship as the angels do. (Devarim Rabba 2:36) Since it was not said by Moshe in the speech recorded in Devarim, we do not usually say it out loud. (Pesachim 56a) But the gemara tells us of a second group of people who said “barukh sheim” right after Shema, Yaaqov’s sons, as his deathbed. When Yaaqov was about to reveal the time of the ultimate redemption, his prophecy faltered. He was afraid: Maybe one or more of my sons doesn’t believe and didn’t merit hearing the prophecy? And so they responded, “Bless is the name…”

The Arukh haShulchan (OC 61:4) explains this halakhah, that we say the line out loud on Yom Kippur and only Yom Kippur, as follows:

בוודאי יש כוונות נוראות בפסוק “שמע ישראל”, אך בפשטיותה הוא כמו שפירש רש”י: “שמע ישראל ה’ אלהינו”, כלומר: שהוא אלהינו עתה. “ה’ אחד” – עתיד להיות ה’ אחד, שנאמר: “כִּֽי־אָ֛ז אֶהְפֹּ֥ךְ אֶל־עַמִּ֖ים שָׂפָ֣ה בְרוּרָ֑ה לִקְרֹ֤א כֻלָּם֙ בְּשֵׁ֣ם ה'” (צפניה ג ט). ונאמר: “בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֗וּא יִהְיֶ֧ה ה’ אֶחָ֖ד וּשְׁמ֥וֹ אֶחָֽד׃” (זכריה י״ד:ט׳). וזה כל תקותינו, שאז יתגדל ויתקדש שמו יתברך.

ולכן תיכף אחר פסוק זה אומרים: “ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד”. כלומר: שאז יתגלה כבוד מלכותו בגלוי. ולכן אומרים בחשאי, כי עתה אינו באתגליא מפני חטאינו, לבד ביום הכיפורים שאז אנו כמלאכים אומרים בקול רם. אבל בכל השנה אין העולם כדאי לאמרו בקול רם. ובפסחים (נו א) אמרו חכמינו ז”ל דלכן אומרים בחשאי, מפני שלא אמרוֹ משה ויעקב אמרוֹ, עיין שם. (ולעניות דעתי גם כן הכוונה כן, דבימי יעקב היו כולם צדיקים ואמרו בקול רם. ולא כן בימי משה, שעשו העגל ועוד חטאים. ודייק ותמצא קל.)

Certainly there are awe-inspiring kavanosin the verse of “Shema Yisrael“, but in its simple understanding it is as Rashi explained:”Listen Israel, Hashem is our G-d”,  so as to say that He is our G-d now. “Hashem is One” == he is destined to be the One Hashem [for everyone]. As it says, “For then I will turn the nations into purity of speech, So that they all invoke Hashem’s name.” (Tzefaniah 5:9) And it says, “In that era Hashem will be One and His name one.” (Zechariah 14:9) And this is our entire hope that then “May His blessed name make itself great and blessed.” (Qaddish)

Therefore, immediately after this verse [of Shema Yisrael], we say, “Blessed is the name of the Glory of His Rule for all eternity.” So as to say, then the glory of His Rule will be revealed. Therefore we say it in a whisper, because now it is not public knowledge because of our sins. Except on Yom Kippur, for then we are like angels, so we say [the angelic line] out loud. But the rest of the year the world isn’t worthy for us to say it out loud.

In Pesachim Chazal say that this is why we say it in a whisper; because Moshe did not say it and Yaaqov did say it. See there.

([Explanatory gloss:] In my humble opinion that is also the intent here. That in the days of Yaaqov they were all righteous, and that is why [Yaaqov’s sons] said [“Barukh Sheim“] out loud. But not so in the days of Moshe, that they made the Golden Calf and other sins. Study closely and it will become obvious.)

It is interesting that the Arukh haShulchan says that even though it wasn’t yet a moment worthy of having the Messianic Redemption being revealed, the people there were all on an angelic level. To say Barukh Sheim we need to be on the level of angels. But humanity, through our ability to grow, are destined to reach even higher. Angels can proclaim that there will come a time when “He is One and His name is one.” But only people can make that day happen.

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