I am talking about the Lashon Hakodesh appelation, אל, which is often translated as "God".

What, precisely does it mean? How do we relate to a God, vs say, a King, or an Eternity, or a Lord of Hosts. etc.

Such a general question so if I can narrow it, I will say that I have "Elohei Yisrael" in mind, and I want to know why He uses that appelation in that statement. I am looking for more than just a definition.

  • IIRC א-ל means 'the Powerful', which is why it's used to refer to humans sometimes (like when Moshe is called אלהים לפרעה, or when judges are called אלהים)
    – Lo ani
    Jan 29 at 13:24

1 Answer 1


Rav Schwab on Prayer (Artscroll) p.415 when he writes on the opening blessing of the Amida notes on the word הא-ל the following:

הא-ל - The Almighty.

Hakadosh Baruch hu is not bound by middos, therefore His power transcends even His own attributes. He can pardon the worst reshaim, and chas v'shalom punish the greatest tzaddikim for the slightest infraction. The name א-ל, although connoting "power", nevertheless expresses middas harachamim (see Rashi on Shemos 34:6; also חסד א-ל כל היום, The kindness of God is all day long [Tehillim 52:3]), because the greatest sign of power by which Hakadosh Baruch Hu has revealed Himself is the fact that He created the world. Hakadosh Baruch Hu, Who is Perfection per se, has no need to create the world. However, as the Baal HaRachamim, the ultimate merciful One, His purpose was to create objects, "vessels," which would be the recipients of His goodness. (See Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, in the beginning of his Mesillas Yesharim.)

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