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The real meaning of Shema Israel - Vaetchanan

Friday, 16 August, 2019 - 7:45 am

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An American tourist goes to vacation to Israel. When he comes back and is asked how it was there, he answered: “Israel is a wonderful country! There are so many Jews here that don’t know Hebrew, while there even 4-year-old children speak a perfect Hebrew!”

But even those that don’t know perfect Hebrew know the prayer: “Shema Israel Ado-nai Elo-enou Ado-nai Echad”, or in English “Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G‑d, the L-rd is One”. This is the first prayer that we teach to the young ones, as soon as they start talking and this is the prayer Jews say when leaving this world. We say it every morning and every evening.

Since it is so important and central to our lives, let’s try to understand in more in depth.

When we say Shema Israel, de don’t only mean that G-d is the only G-d and that there is no other one. We mean that he is really the Only One, there is nothing outside of G-d. The world is one with Him. All that we see is really an “extension” of G-d.

He continues to create the world at every moment, again and again. If G-d stopped to re-create the world and give us life continuously, the world would revert to nil. This can be compared to heroes in a movie: they appear real, but if the projector stops for a moment to project their image, they simply stop existing…

If we think a little about it, this is wonderful: every second, G-d re-creates me, in other words He wants me here in His world to fulfill my mission.

This thought inspires us to love Him and observe His commandments, as we say in the continuation of the prayer of Shema Israel.

Let’s all decide, every evening before going to sleep, to say the Shema Israel. It takes less than 2 minutes and it’s a wonderful way to close our day.

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

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