Leaping Souls: Understanding the Halachos and Customs of Kedusha

The Kotzker Rebbe once explained the quest for holiness in this world with the following parable: Hashem has fashioned a ladder that reaches from Heaven to earth, and souls descend this ladder from the upper world to this world. The moment a soul reaches earth, however, the ladder is withdrawn; yet a heavenly voice summons the soul to climb back up to Heaven.

Some souls give up immediately. Since there is no ladder, they ask, how will they ever succeed in getting back up to Heaven? Other souls begin to jump towards Heaven, even without a ladder — but they too despair when they do not succeed after a number of leaps. Still other souls say to themselves, “Since there is no ladder, we are certainly obligated to leap and leap until at last G-d will have mercy on us and lift us up to Him” (Leaping Souls p. 138).

Perhaps no prayer better expresses our longing to return to our Heavenly home than Kedusha. We stand with our feet together as if we were angels and rise repeatedly to the tips of our toes in a leaping fashion, demonstrating our desire to get closer to Hashem.

Let us investigate some of the halachos and customs of this tefilla, in order that we may reach the threshold of the Heavens during our prayers.

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