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The Shema

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"