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    The exalted God

    Israelites crossing the sea, Venice Haggadah, 1609

    Israelites crossing the sea, Venice Haggadah, 1609

    In the Song of the Sea, Moses and the Children of Israel acclaim God as ga-oh ga-ah, “highly exalted”.

    Rashi says this has two meanings: “Exalted above all exalted beings, and uniquely exalted”.

    Both ideas are necessary; if all we had was that God is higher than the highest beings it might suggest that there really were other gods though God is above them.

    By saying “uniquely exalted” we are told that He cannot be compared to any other being, even those whom the idolaters regard as gods.

    We cannot really say “There is a God” but “There is God” – i.e. He is One and Unique. That’s what the Shema means when it says HaShem Echad.

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