Baruch Shem

The Meaning of “Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto

Le’Olam Va’ed”

In the previous Halachot we have established that the verse “Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto Le’Olam Va’ed” must be inserted into Keri’at Shema. One must likewise have the proper intention while reciting this verse. If one did not, one has not fulfilled his obligation.

Let us now explain the meaning of the various words contained in this verse. In order to do so, let us verse begin with some fundamental ideas:

It is well-known that whenever we mention the words “Baruch” in any blessing, it does not mean that we are blessing Hashem, for one cannot bless Hashem since He is the source of all blessing and abundance. Rather, the meaning of the word “Baruch” is “source of blessing abundance.” Thus, when we say “Baruch Ata Hashem” this means that “Hashem is the source of abundance.”

Regarding the meaning of the words “Kevod Malchuto,” just as we exclaim in Kedusha, “Baruch Kevod Hashem Mime’komo” (Blessed is the glory of Hashem from His place) and this refers to the entire creation, so too, “Kevod Malchuto” (the honor of his kingdom) refers to the existence of the entire creation which Hashem leads with His sovereignty, as the verse (Yeshaya 43) states, “Anything called in my name and my honor, I have created.”

Clearly, we cannot fathom the ultimate greatness of Hashem and we can only catch a glimpse of Hashem through his creations. This means that we know that Hashem has created us and watches over us but we can never fathom or understand the exact reality that is Hashem.

Thus, any names which we use to refer to Hashem do not reflect upon the reality of Hashem and are merely expressions of how He behaves towards us. For instance, when we say Hashem is “Gracious,” this means Hashem treats us graciously. When we refer to Hashem as “Merciful,” this means that Hashem treats us with mercy.

Similarly, “Shem Kevod Malchuto” means that whatever exists in this world only exists because Hashem runs the world. This is what is meant by the “Name of Hashem’s glorious kingdom.”

Thus, the meaning of this entire verse is: “Baruch”-The source of abundance, “Shem Kevod Malchuto”- The entire existence of the creation of the world, “Le’Olam Va’ed”- Shall continue forever and without pause.

Summary: The meaning of the verse “Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto Le’Olam Va’ed” is: “The source of abundance by Hashem’s leadership in the existence of the world shall continue forever.”

This verse has several explanations and most of them are Kabbalistically-inclined. Since we do not usually delve into the secrets of the Torah, we have presented only the simple meaning of this verse. (See Sefer Abudirhem, laws of Keri’at Shema and Sefer Milchemet Mitzvah by Rabbeinu Meir Ha’Me’ili, page 37.)


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