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What is the reason for having to say the “15 expressions of praise” in Yishtabach in one breath?

My own potential answer is maybe it’s to show that there’s so much praise to say about Hashem and even this limited amount we can’t even say without running out of breath

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    I've never heard of that requirement. Do you have a source?
    – shmosel
    Jan 23 at 4:33
  • @shmosel every sefardi siddur I've ever used :) Now Curious Yid, you've made me curious why we must do the same for the vav words in veyatziv
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jan 23 at 9:43
  • @RabbiKaii is that actually a thing I’ve never heard that!! Thanks for letting me know lol Jan 24 at 1:59

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Siddur Avodas Yisroel brings in the name of the Shla"h that the 15 expressions of praise parallel the fifteen words of Birkas Kohanim, and that they therefore should be said in a single breath to keep them unified. However, the Zohar only has 13 expressions, and the Kav HaYashar states that

These correspond to the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy and should be recited in a single breath so that there will be no pause between them. If one does interrupt in the middle of them a flame comes out from beneath the wings of the cherubim and a great voice announces, “So-and-so interrupted in the middle of the praises of his Master!” His merits are also erased so that he may not behold the majesty of the King, as it is written, “And he will not see the King’s majesty”

That said, do note that the Mishnah Berurah rules according to the Chid"a and the Gr"a that one should rather say them nicely like one would praise a king, than hurriedly in a single breath.

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  • Thanks! So then it seems that Sephardim who are more kabbalistic hold to say it all in one breath, while ashkenazim follow the Mishnah Berurah and take their time? Jan 24 at 2:18
  • @CuriousYid Possibly, but then I'd expect chassidim to use one breath too. Just looked in a random Sfard siddur in front of me: "good to say them without interruption (and some say in one breath)"
    – Adám
    Jan 24 at 8:46

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