HIP HOP LITURGY

The Shema

 

The Shema is one of the fundamental Jewish prayers, nearest and dearest to many Jew’s hearts.  Coming straight from the Torah (Bible) it says “Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad” (Deut 4:6), meaning: Listen Israel, The Lord our God, The Lord is One.  This declaration of Divine Oneness is said, sung, chanted and prayed every morning and every evening, in effect framing the entire day in Divine awareness.  The Shema then commands us to love God with all our heart, all our soul and with that we have.  This incantation is to be placed on our hearts and minds, in the Mezuzah on our doorposts and gates, and should be taught to our children and discussed every day.  It must be said in a particular way, with great intention and attention, out loud, with one’s eyes closed, and with very clear pronunciation of every letter of every word.  When I say the Shema, I try to meditate on Universal Oneness.  Divine Mathematics states that 1+1 = 1, so I  imagine and feel how the whole world is connected, how there is One force that takes expression in the multitude of reality. Experiencing that sense of Unity in the details of the words I say and the reality I perceive elevates my existence and pushes me towards holiness.

Beat Box Remix by Eprhyme, J. Stone and Text Rich Ali

According to the midrashic story, Jacob (also named Israel, of the Bible) gathered his 12 sons around his deathbed (the best time to let them hear the cold hard truth!) and declared that he would reveal exactly what will occur in the end of days. Suddenly, he started to bless them.  The Rabbis explain that the reason Jacob didn't continue to prophesize and reveal exactly what would happen was because the Shechina (Divine Presence) left him, obviously in order to keep the future secret. Jacob was upset and thought that maybe one of his sons did not totally believe in God (again, after all his efforts to have his children follow in his ways). The sons proclaimed unanimously: "Shema Yisrael - Hear O Israel (our father), we all believe that the Lord is one!"  When Jacob heard this, he was so elated that he proclaimed, "May the honor of His kingdom be blessed forever." (We add these words to our daily Shema, though silently, because Moses did not write them in the Torah.)

Shema Remix "One God For My Squad"

The Shechina

 

As promised we’ll remix the best of the old school, like Shema, and the new school like Josh Warshawsky/Coleen Dirker triumphant niggunim (wordless melody) called Hame’irah.  With 8 measures from that song 5 MCs and a producer cooked up this special track one holy night in Philadelphia.

"Shekina Pulls Up" is about experiencing a bit of the Divine in any given moment. It can be quite challenging to relate to The Infinite G!D, and so Jews (along with people of all other faiths) use many names to relate to The Divine.  Each name that a person uses to talk about The Holy Blessed One lends itself to a particular kind of relationship between the person and God. The name Shechina is one of the feminine names that conjure the close and comforting Divine Presence that rests with us wherever we are.  Interestingly, God has no gender in Judaism and is represented by both male and female names, each name according to the particular type of relationship. 

When the Jewish people were exiled from Jerusalem, due to their sinning against God, it is said that The Shechina went into exile with them.  The Shechina represents a sense of God that is always with us, in hard times and good times.  It is the Welcoming Presence that can make you feel at home anywhere by simply being present.  When I relate to The Shechina's name of God I can feel protected.  I am drawn into experiencing the moment with awe, for G∞D is in this place and I might not have known it.

The one prayer nearest and dearest to most Jew’s hearts. The Shema. The great Jewish Philosopher Rabbi Maimonides AKA The RAMBAM said this prayer was the prayer that makes a Jew a Jew. The Fow Ti called The Shema the only phrase in all of Hebrew that is part incantation (1/70th).


How you are supposed to say the Shema is broken down in the text ----- very meticulously, adding meaning to each syllable. The Shema is inside the Mezuzah. It is the Jew’s great proclamation to the world God is the father of all men or of no men because all are one and all is one. 1+1+1=1 is the holy mathematics ergo everything is everything.

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