Shema Israel

Sh'ma Y'israel Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad
Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.

Rabbi Shlomo Nachman © January 20, 2013 (last updated August 26, 2014)

Shema Israel: Recorded live on Facebook

The Shema is the central, most instructive and most important declaration in all of Judaism and biblical religion. It is the first thing we say upon awakening, the last thing we say before sleep and, if possible, our final words and thoughts before we return our bodies to the earth in death.

The first line:

Deuteronomy 6:4 Sh'ma Yis'ra'eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.
    Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.
As Rashi explains:
The Lord is our God; the Lord is one: The Lord, who is now our God and not the God of the other nations - He will be [declared] in the future [to be] "the one God," as it is said: "For then I will convert the peoples to a pure language that all of them call in the name of the Lord" (Zephaniah 3:9), and it is [also] said: "On that day will the Lord be one and His name one" (Zechariah 14:9).
Shema: Y'israel:

Adonai Elohaynu

Adonai Echad

When we say the Shema then, we are referring to Deuteronomy 6:4. In Jewish liturgy however it is more ("Blessed is the name of His glorious kingdom for all eternity"). The complete Shema is Deuteronomy 6:4-8, 11:13-22 and Numbers 15:37-42. We wont look at it all here, but consider:

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

BECAUSE HaShem is echad (One), the Shema calls us to be a blessing in the Sacred Name of the One Eternal Adon Olam (the Master of the Universe)! Because He is One, we partake in the blessings of His oneness. When we bless others we bless ourselves, which blesses others and so on! Blessings upon blessings! We are to recognize His oneness in all areas of life and to honor all life as sacred.

People all too easily get wrapped up in traditions, in personal practices and self importance. What it all boils down to however is the Shema. God is One.

May we all become one in HaShem as directed in Torah.

How to Meditate on the Shema (Chabad videos):

Part One of four


Part Two of four


Part Three of four


Part Four

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