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Kedushah

Kedushah (Heb., ‘holiness’). In Judaism, set apart through holiness. The biblical commandment, ‘you shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy’ (Leviticus 19. 2) has consistently been understood by the rabbis as requiring that the Jews must be a people ‘set apart’. The ultimate hope is that not only the Jewish nation, but the entire universe will be filled with the divine glory (kavod), and the prophet Zechariah looked to a time when even the bells on horses will be inscribed with ‘Holy to the Lord’ (Zechariah 14. 20–1). In rabbinic literature, holiness is of God's essence (‘The Holy One, Blessed be he’). Israel can only share in God's holiness through the performance of the mitzvot (sing. mitzvah). More specifically, kedushah is applied to parts of the liturgy, especially the doxologies based on Isaiah 6. 3 and Ezekiel 3. 12 which echo the praise of the angels.

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