The first blessing of the morning Shema (that ends in יוצר המאורות ) has two versions:

Weekdays (which includes a יום טוב that does not coincide with Shabbat) has the paragraph המאיר לארץ .

The Shabbat version is much longer and starts with הכל יודוך and includes a "responsive" piyut קל אדון followed by לקל אשר שבת . (I'm unaware of any nusach that does not have this change.)

Why does Shabbat get a different version for this first blessing?

  • Yom Tov also has different versions of that blessing. Here is a version for one of the days of Pesach books.google.com/… here's one for Rosh Chodesh that falls on Shabbat hebrewbooks.org/…
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 15:13
  • "I'm unaware of any nusach that does not have this change." Check out Rambam.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 15:14
  • Some Nuschaot have a different version on shabbat for the first berakha before shema at night too. Eg. books.google.com/…
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 15:14

2 Answers 2


Summary of points from this Beurei Hatefillah article:

It is interesting to note that in general, one is not supposed to change the text of any bracha from the format that was created by אנשי כנסת הגדולה (Men of the Great Assembly). Thus, we find no mentioning of Shabbat in any brachot except for the middle part of the Amidah and the 3rd bracha of Birkat Hamazon.

Sefer Ha'itim is vehemently against making any changes to Yotzer Or, and thus says that if one wants to add anything extra for Shabbat, he should do so after saying Barchu and prior to starting Yotzer Or.

No other source is bothered by making these changes, though. Siddur Avodat Yisra'el (Published by R' Seligmann Yitzhak Baer (1825-1897)), says that it has become custom to lengthen praises in Yotzer on Shabbat which is the most honored of all other days.

Likutei Maharich says:

Check the Zohar for Parshat Teruma and V’Yakhail and you find that it is not mentioned there that one adds anything to the Bracha of Yotzair on Shabbat except Ail Adon but H’Ail HaPoseach and L’Ail Shavas is not mentioned there. In the Rambam, even Ail Adon is not mentioned as being added to the Bracha of Yotzair Ohr. But you do find all these paragraphs mentioned in the Siddur (sic.) Rav Amram Gaon, the Machzor Vitri, the Avudrohom and the KolBo.

O.C. 68:1 makes a general statement that one should refrain from saying any piyutim in the blessings of Shema as this is considered an interruption. It's curious that he stated this knowing that these piyutim said on Shabbat had already been in place as they were written in Siddur Rav Amram Ga'on. It's unclear as to whether Rav Kairo would have recited this version or not, based on that opinion.

  • 1
    "No other source is bothered by making these changes, though." I don't think this article did such a great job with the research.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 20:21
  • @DoubleAA I agree that it's not the strongest source around. But, I think the first two sources at least explain why the versions are different. The other sources I think provide useful background presenting various opinions that show that not everyone agreed to these changes.
    – DanF
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 21:11

On a simple level, it is stated by Rabbi Yaacov Tzvi Yolles in Sefer Kehillat Yaacov, ערך שב: שבת:ב that the change in the text for Shabbat is because we follow what the angels did on the first Shabbat.

בשבת בראשית קרא הקב״ה אל המלאכים ומינה אותם על העולם פתחו כולם ואמרו הכל יודוך לכך אומרים בשבת הכל יודוך

The opening words of the weekday version emphasizes G-d's flow of blessing and maintenance into the creation, like with the phrase:

המאיר לארץ ולדרים עליה, ברחמים כו׳

The One who radiates to the earth and to those who dwell upon it, in mercy...

The emphasis is the flow from Above to Below. In the language of kabbalah, this is referred to as אור ישר, direct light.

In the text for Shabbat, the primary focus changes directions, like with the phrase:

הכל יודוך, והכל ישבחוך, והכל יאמרו כו׳

Everything acknowledges You, and everything praises You, and everything says...

The emphasis is from Below to Above. In the language of kabbalah, this is referred to as אור חוזר, returning light.

Another word for return is תשובה which shares the same root as Shabbat (שבת). It is worth pointing out that this idea of sharing the same root is not in the sense of common grammar, but as explained, for example, in ספר קל״ח פתחי חכמה by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato in the section ענין האותיות והשמות: פתח יח-כא. That each letter is the manner in which this flow of blessing expresses from Above, how it is rooted Above.

And this is one of the ideas emphasized in the words of the kiddush said on Shabbat night.

ויקדש אתו, כי בו שבת מכל-מלאכתו כו׳

And He sanctified it, because all His work returned to Him...

And this follows the concept mentioned by the Alter Rebbe in מאמרי אדמו״ר הזקן: אתהלך לאזניא which is quoting Pri Etz Chaim:

ונזכר בפרי עץ חיים שבירורי דכר בו׳ ימי החול ובשבת שהוא בחינת מלכות אין בירורים כי אם עליות כו׳.

This idea is discussed more fully by the Alter Rebbe in his Chassidic discourse which opens with the words: קודש ישראל לה׳ ראשית תבואתה וגו׳ which is found in the same sefer.

  • 1
    Interesting explanation. Edit where you got this from, please.
    – DanF
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 19:13
  • 3
    תשובה and שבת do not share a root. one is .ש.י.ב (to return) and one is .ש.ב.ת (to stop) (neither of which should be confused with .י.ש.ב (to sit) or .ש.ב.י (to capture) or .ש.ב.ב (to stray))
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 19:13
  • 5
    "On a simple level" ??? How is esoteric kabbalistic terminology the simple level??
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 19:14
  • 3
    "And He sanctified it, because all His work returned to Him..." This is not the translation of that Hebrew phrase. (I also don't know why you bolded the word מכל 'from all', or why you identified the phrase as from Kiddush instead of from the Bible.)
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 19:22
  • @DanF "Interesting explanation. Edit where you got this from, please." Per your request... Hope you enjoy looking it over. Be sure to check out the 4 new links. Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 14:25

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