Kitzur Tefilat Amecha #32-33

[adapted for middle-schoolers by Rabbi Shmuel Jablon from Rav Aviner's three-volume commentary on the siddur "Tefilat Amecha"]

At the end of Psukei De-Zimra, we say Yishtabach. It’s the end of an important part of Tefilah, so it’s an important summary. There are those who say it was written by Shlomo Ha-Melech as we see the letters "Shlomo" at the beginning of "Shimcha La-Ad Malkenu Ha-Kel Ha-Melech". Some say Avraham Avinu wrote the second half as we see the letters "Avraham" at the beginning of "Adon, Borei, Ribon, Ha-Bocher, Melech". Why is this important? We see that this is an extremely old prayer. All of our prayers in the Siddur were written by great people. And certainly we have to give respect to all of them. And when we see a Tefilah that may have been written by Avraham or Shlomo, we are reminded just how amazing our Tefillot are and how we need to honor and respect them.

At the end of Yishtabach we say again say that Hashem is our great and praise worthy King. We say He is the only King and He alone lives forever. And we say He is the One who chooses "Shirei Zimra". What is the difference between "Shira" and "Zimra" – two words which mean "song"? "Shira" is when we serve Hashem with our minds. The entire Torah is called a "Shira." It is more national and applies to the whole world and to great ideas. "Zimra" is when we serve Him with our feelings. It is more individual, as I am expressing the feelings that I have. So which does Hashem want? He wants both. We are to serve Him with our feelings, our thoughts, our minds - both as individuals and as part of the Jewish Nation. Everything is to be focused on serving Hashem.