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Shir HaKovod - Anim Zemiros. This is amazingly anthropomorphic and all that without even once the word כביכול (= as if such a thing could be true). Admittedly the references come from texts such as Shir HaShirim but to make a poem from it, how come it’s allowed?

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Well, some customs don't sing it. –  Double AA Oct 14 '12 at 13:39
    
I have heard that the question of whether or not to say this prayer has been around for quite a while. Have a look a what the Maharal has to say on the subject here ספר נתיבות עולם א - נתיב העבודה - פרק י"ב‏. –  David Perlman Oct 16 '12 at 4:21
    
@DavidPerlman I found the perek at hebrewbooks.org/… Could you be more speciifc about the part I should read please? –  Avrohom Yitzchok Oct 18 '12 at 14:18
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AY check the left column on the page after the one you linked to. The language there is pretty harsh but I actually remember some harsher language only I can't recall the source (although I do remember it was the Maharal) –  David Perlman Oct 19 '12 at 8:17
    
@DavidPerlman Thank you; most interesting. Maharal is talking about the Shir Hayichud (not the Shir HaKovod) - although the same applies. His point (IMHO) is about excessive praise at the wrong time not about anthropomorphism. –  Avrohom Yitzchok Oct 22 '12 at 20:42

2 Answers 2

The poet makes it very clear, before launching into these descriptions, that they are not literal:

I shall relate Your glory, though I see You not; I shall allegorize You, I shall describe You, though I know You not.

Through the hand of Your prophets, through the counsel of Your servants; You allegorized the splendrous glory of Your power.

Your greatness and Your strength, they described the might of Your works.

They allegorized You, but not according to Your reality, and they portrayed You according to your deeds.

They symbolized You in many varied visions; yet You are a Unity containing all the allegories.

(Artscroll translation of lines 5 through 9)

That sounds to me like five lines of "כביכול ."

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The Koren/Sacks translation rhymes in English. 100x cooler IMO. –  Double AA Oct 14 '12 at 14:07
    
Which lines of the Hebrew is this? –  Double AA Oct 14 '12 at 14:12
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א thru ד. He could easily have included ה in the this answer as well. –  Chanoch Oct 14 '12 at 14:52
    
@DoubleAA, If you want to edit in the K/S translation, assuming it doesn't water down the point I'm getting at here, feel free to. Thanks for asking for a more precise location; I've provided it. –  Isaac Moses Oct 14 '12 at 15:31
    
@Chanoch, Thanks for suggesting the addition of the next line. Done. –  Isaac Moses Oct 14 '12 at 15:31

I think there's no problem using anthropomorphic images if:-

  1. You are using only whatever already is said in ktuvim by neviim.
  2. You do not take it seriously as literal description. (like you say the "Shemesh shak'a" though you know it has not, it just hidden from your eyes currently)
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Boris. Agree (1). My point is about (2). Is there not a big danger in saying these things out loud so everyone can hear them and maybe (ch"v) be mistaken? –  Avrohom Yitzchok Oct 14 '12 at 13:28

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