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Yirat Adonai - Awakening to the LORD

Yirat Adonai -

The fear of the LORD...

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The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge

The "fear of the Lord" (Yirat Adonai) does not denote a cringing terror of G-d but a reverential awe at the glory of His Presence as He daily condescends to be involved in our lives. Yirah is really a form of devotion, a consciousness of the sacredness and mystery of receiving life itself from the Living G-d (El Chai), and essentially draws upon gratitude to G-d for this great gift.

Yirat Adonai

Such an attitude of devotion yields wisdom (chokhmah) which is the result of "practicing the presence" of the Lord in our daily lives. As James tells us, this wisdom is "first pure, then full of peace, gentleness, mercy, good fruits, and sincerity" (see James 3:17).

Since we are created by G-d to worship and know Him, Psalm 111:10 is often recited in the morning to remind us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:

Translation: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. Blessed be the name of his glorious kingdom forever and ever."


Beginning of wisdom

Reishit chokhmah yirat Adonai, sekhel tov
lekhol oseihem, tehillato omedet la'ad.
Barukh shem kevod malkhuto le'olam va'ed.

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