Who Is Like You
(click below the music note to listen)
Mi chamocha ba-elim Hashem
Who is like You among the heavenly powers, Hashem!
mi kamocha nedar bakodesh
mighty in holiness,
nora tehillot oseh fele
too awesome for praise, doing wonders!
Shirah chadasha shib'chu g'ulim l'shimcha al sefat ha-yam
With a new song the redeemed ones praised Your Name at the seashore,
yachad kulam hadu v'himlichu v'am'ru
all of them in unison gave thanks, acknowledged [Your] sovereignty, and said:
Hashem yimloch l'olam va'ed
'Hashem shall reign for all eternity!'
Tzur Yisrael kumah b'ezrat Yisrael ufideh chin'umaha Yehudah v'Yisrael
Rock of Yisrael, arise to the aid of Yisrael and liberate, as You pledged, Yehudah and Yisrael.
Go-aleinu Hashem tz'va-ot shemo kedosh Yisrael
Our Redeemer - Hashem, Master of Legions, is His Name - is the Holy One of Yisrael.
Baruch atah Hashem ga-al Yisrael
Blessed are You Hashem, Who redeemed Yisrael.
Opening words of a verse (Shemot 15:11) meaning, "Who is like You among the heavenly powers?" It highlights the "Song of the Sea," and together with Hashem Yimloch (Shemot 15:18 - "Hashem will reign") is employed as a daily response in the Arvit and Shacharit service, between the Shema' and the Amidah.
The former verse heralds and assurance of the omnipotence of G-d's strength at the splitting of the sea and the latter declares His everlasting Kingship. "That you remember the days of your going out of Egypt all the days of your life" (Devarim 16:3) gave rise to the practice of reciting these verses. The word "all" as used in the sentence implies that we remember not only in the daytime but that the nights, too, are included (Berachot 12b)
The verse "For Hashem has redeemed Yaakov, and ransomed him from the power mightier than he" (Yirmeyahu 31:10) was fixed for the ending of the blessing to bring the idea of redemption nearer to the closing benediction ("Blessed are You Hashem, Who redeemed Yisrael").
The phrase in Arvit immediately before Mi Chamocha is Moshe uveney Yisrael lecha anu shirah b'simchah rabbah v'am'ru chulam ("Moshe and the children of Yisrael sang to You a song with great joy, and they said unanimously"). One should pause slightly after the words b'simchah rabbah, as it applies to Moshe and the people of Yisrael who sang with much joy and ve'am'ru chulam should be joined with Mi Chamocha (BSH [Baruch Halevi Epstein, Baruch Shem'amar - Tel Aviv: Am Olam Ltd. Publishing Co., 1968, pp. 218, 219)
In Western European countries it was customary to adapt a melody associated with the holiday of the season to Mi Chamocha. For example, on Chanukkah the representative theme used for Mi Chamocha was Maoz Tzur, commemorating the truimph of the Maccabees whose name, it is believed, was composed of the initials of Mi Chamocha Be'eilim Hashem. Other melodies used on the various holidays were: for Pesach - Addir Hu; for Shavuot - Akdamut; for Sukkot - the Lulav chant in Hallel; for the Shabbatot between the fasts of Tammuz and Av - Eli Tziyon.