In the famous prayer, we say "Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh, Hashem Tziva'ot."
The Nevi'im (Prophets) Yeshayah & Yechezkel both saw an identical vision (100 years apart!) of the angels near the Throne of Hashem saying: "Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh, Hashem Tziva'ot."
Tziva'ot really means "armies."
So the angels were saying "Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord of Armies."
But what does that really mean?
In Rav Avigdor Miller's dvar Torah for Parshas Bamidbar 4 - Armies of Glory, we find out.
The True Meaning of Kadosh
Kadosh means "perfection."
And the angels declare Hashem's Holiness, His Perfection, because evidence of His Infinite Perfection exist everywhere.
Personally, I always thought the tziva'ot were just the angels.
But Rav Miller states that the tziva'ot, the armies, are Hashem's creations themselves.
The Trillions of Invisible Troops of Hashem
Among other functions, bacteria accomplish the following:
- make cheese.
- cause dough to rise, giving us bread instead of matzah.
- cause the soil to produce.
- line your stomach so you can digest food.
Rav Miller also explains that bacteria are the "shedim" mentioned in the Gemara Berachos 6a, the millions of shedim that surround us on all sides.
And these armies hard at work cause the angels to sing praises to Hashem.
Why Praise Hashem?
WE need to praise Hashem.
It's good for US.
And, as Rav Miller says, praising Hashem is all our success in life (page 8):
Haolam hazeh domeh leprozdor lifnei haolam haba – this world is a lobby before the world to come, hasken atzmecha befrozdor kedai shetikanes letraklin, and therefore get busy preparing yourself while you’re still in the lobby in order to enter the main hall.
That’s the hinge on which Olam Hazeh turns – we’re here for the purpose of preparing for the World To Come.
And how do we prepare? The answer is we prepare by singing the praises of Hakodosh Boruch Hu!
On pages 9-11, Rav Miller describes the glories of cedar trees & peach pits.
Also, every human being is supposed to praise Hashem, not just the Jews.
However, a major reason for creating a special nation of chosen people is to sing Hashem's praises (page 11):
Now, I understand that most people, even talmidei chachamim, don’t even dream that we have such an obligation.
It’s a big chiddush to many people but when you start studying pshuto shel mikra, that’s the plain truth – “I have created this nation that they should speak My praises.”
It’s not merely some vacuous expression that you might hear from somebody with a literary tendency; this is actually the fundamental teaching of the Torah.
We are in this world to speak about the Creator.
And therefore, it’s a task for all our lives.
* * *
...we have to actually learn the art of praising Hashem in order to be able to serve in His army.
And the first lesson is that we must keep our eyes open and see the greatness of Hashem in this world.
Hashem's Favorite Warrior
Then Rav Miller explains how to actually accomplish this fundamental task on page 14 (emphasis mine):
Now this may seem exaggerated, but the truth is if you do it even for one minute a day, it’s a tremendous achievement.
It was worth coming here just for that!
So don’t say, “Well, I can’t have this in mind a whole day long. I’m not an angel!”
So Hashem says, “What about it?! Do it for one minute and that’s a very great success in life!”
If you can spend just one minute a day thinking about what we spoke about here tonight so you’re already a very big tzaddik – you’re taller than anybody else!
If you do it two minutes a day, ashreichem, you’re a fortunate person.
In other words, you are fulfilling your purpose in life.
(And don't forget to check out the practical tip on page 14!)