What is the Shema? Intro to the Most Important Jewish Prayer

Posted By on October 3, 2019


Do you believe in God? Trick question A relationship with God isn’t about what you believe it’s about how you love and
how you listen Shema Israel Adonai Eloheinu, Adoni Echad. We say it every day, twice a day in the evening and morning when you lie
down and when you rise up the simple reason is because the Bible says so but listen… Shema Israel: listen people of Israel Shema Israel: listen you descendants of Israel Israel, the name given to Jacob after
he wrestled an angel Listen you G-d
wrestlers that powerful force that pervades the universe that guides the
stars in the sky and breathe divine breath through every blade of grass that
flutters in the wind that mother earth that life force of all that is…is God the letters that spell G-d’s name in Hebrew can’t actually be pronounced so
sometimes as a stand-in for that unsayable word, we’ll use metaphors like “Adonai” which means Lord some people say “Hashem” which means the name but when we say these words
we’re really just pointing at what we can’t say because the closest thing to
speaking G-d’s name out loud is breathing That name that universal heart
beating through all that is is one and we remind ourselves every day that we
are connected through that oneness but oneness can feel a little bit abstract how can we get to know this unsayable universal life force? The way that people
have come to know deep truths forever by paying attention, by listening so Shema listen up people but listening is hard so often we’re distracted or
feel pressure to have the answers and just close down waiting for our turn to
speak so before we say the Shema we say another prayer that reminds us that
we can relax we come in a long line of listeners The prayer right before the
Shema is called a “Ahava Rabah”, big love deep love, abundant, overwhelming sweep
you off your feet and knock you over with love love because that’s the kind
of love that G-d had for our ancestors and has for us but we’re so often too
busy to even notice so notice the prayer says Notice that you’re surrounded by.
infused with, kept in life by love G-d’s love that
beating heart of the universe pay attention G-d you taught our ancestors
your laws and ways quirky, special, Jewish ways that connect us with our roots and give us wings so we ask G-d teach us, help us learn and understand help us
listen and through listening help us feel your love Shema Yisrael Adonai
Eloheinu Adonai Echad

Posted by Lewis Heart

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