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In the brief prayer we recite before the עקידה each morning, and in the זכרונות blessing on ראש השנה, we ask:

ופקדנו בפקדת ישועה ורחמים משמי שמי קדם

Roughly:

and pay attention to us with an attention of salvation and mercy from the fore's heaven's heaven

What is שמי שמי קדם? And if it's just heaven by another name, then why is it called that here?

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Arba meos shiv'im vasheva mi yodea? –  msh210 Sep 8 '13 at 6:16
1  
See T'hillim (68:34): לָרֹכֵב בִּשְׁמֵי שְׁמֵי-קֶדֶם. M'tzudas David explains this as "the heavens above the heavens, which was created in primordial days." Ibn Ezra refers to this as a "sod". See also Radak (ad loc.). –  Fred Sep 9 '13 at 3:54
    
@Fred, thanks! Sounds like an answer; why not post it as such? (For completeness, Radak says like MD (or vice versa) re "שמי שמי"; and re "קדם" if I understand him right he says it means the sky — and its population (unlike people) — is the same one as was created originally.) –  msh210 Sep 9 '13 at 6:38

1 Answer 1

In Chagiga on :דף יב we learn:

א"ר יהודה שני רקיעים הן שנאמר (דברים י) הֵן לה' אלקיך הַשָּׁמַיִם וּשְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם

R' Yehuda says: "There are 2 heavens as it says (Dvarim 10:14) 'Behold, for Hashem has the heaven and the heaven-of-heavens'"

This is then followed by Reish lakish who says there are 7 heavens, and he then names then.

ר"ל אמר שבעה ואלו הן וילון רקיע שחקים זבול מעון מכון ערבות וילון

(The Gemara then goes on to prove from Psukim that these 7 heavens exist, and explains what each one is used for.)

So שמי שמי קדם would be "The upper of the 2 heavens, created long ago."

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