Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Shema Yisrael!


The parsha continues discussing the mitzvah of reciting the Shema Yisrael twice daily- 
“Shema Yisrael, Hashem Elokainu, Hashem Echad!”
 “Listen, Israel, Adonoy, our God, Adonoy is one (Devarim6:4).” 

The Shema is our declaration of faith--our ‘pledge of allegiance’ to Hashem. Each morning when we arise, we are proclaiming Hashem as the Master of the universe and that we will strive to keep His mitzvot throughout the day, while keeping ourselves from being enticed by worldly desires. Moreover, we recite the Shema Yisrael at night, before we go to sleep, because the Shema is said to dispel evil, and at night the forces of evil are the strongest. Because it is so easy for one to become trapped by his yatzar hara- evil inclination- Hashem brought forth this commandment to pledge our allegiance before we start out busy day and at night when the craziness subsides, giving us the time to contemplate our relationship with Hashem.

The Shema is also used as a meditation technique that allows us to contemplate on Hashem’s oneness. When we recite the Shema, we should focus on the fact that everything in this creation was created to succumb to that oneness. The Shema is telling us to listen and hear God’s oneness and unity. The Shema is calling out to each member of Bnai Israel to transcend to higher plains of spirituality and consciousness. Hashem wants us to quiet down the mind, and listen to His message of unity.

Moreover, we are saying Adonoy, our God. How powerful it is to think, the Master of the universe, the supernal one, is our God? How lucky we should we feel!

Next time we recite the Shema, rather than routinely reciting it, we should meditate on that ‘oneness.’ We should feel utter awe in acknowledging the unity of Hashem, and Him allowing us to be a part of that unity and oneness!

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