BARUKH SHEM KEVOD MALKHUTO LE-OLAM VA-ED
BARUKH SHEM KEVOD MALKHUTO LE-OLAM VA-ED (Heb. בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד; "Blessed be His name, whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever" (Singer, Prayer, and Union Prayer Book) or "Blessed be His glorious kingdom for ever and ever" (Rabbinical Assembly Prayerbook)), a doxology of ancient origin, based upon Nehemiah 9:5, "Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting; and let them say: Blessed be Thy glorious Name, that is exalted above all blessing and praise." Talmudic sources state that in the Temple it was not customary to respond "Amen" after blessings pronounced by the priests (Tosef., Ber. 7:22), but rather the aforesaid Barukh Shem Kevod Malkhuto le-Olam va-Ed. This was also the custom after the high priest pronounced the Holy Name (the Tetragrammaton) in his public confessions on the Day of Atonement (Yoma 35b, 39a, 66a; Ta'an. 16b; Tosef., Ta'an. 1:12; Sif. Deut. 306; see *Avodah). This formula is pronounced in the daily prayers after the first verse of the Shema before continuing with the verses of Deuteronomy 6:4–9. In the Orthodox ritual, however, this formula is pronounced in a whisper, either because it is not biblical as is the rest of the Shema (Pes. 56a; Gen. R. 98:3) or because it is recited by the angels in heaven, corresponding to the people of Israel's reciting of the Shema (Deut. R. 2:36). It has also been suggested that precisely because the phrase was recited aloud in the Temple (Ta'an. 16b), it should be whispered after its destruction. For the second reason, this doxology is pronounced aloud in Orthodox synagogues only on the Day of Atonement, since on this day "Israel is as pure as the angels" (Deut. R. 2:36). Another explanation for uttering this formula in a whisper is that martyrs used to pronounce the Shema as they met their death while their relatives, out of fear of the oppressors, responded quietly. But on the Day of Atonement, when all are ready for martyrdom, it is pronounced aloud (see M.A. Mirkin's commentary to Deut. R. 98:3). In the Ashkenazi rite, at the close of the Ne'ilah service on the Day of Atonement, this formula is pronounced aloud three times as a solemn affirmation of the Jewish faith and in anticipation of the day when this belief will be realized by all mankind.
J. Heinemann, Ha-Tefillah bi-Tekufat ha-Tanna'im ve-ha-Amora'im (19662), 79, 84; E. Munk, World of Prayer (1961), 114; Werner, in: HUCA, 19 (1945–46), 282–9.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.