10 Reciting the Shema

Mitzvah 10 Recite the Shema

 Tenth Command: Recite the Shema

And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up: Dvarim (Deuteronomy) 6.7

וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ וְדִבַּרְתָּ בָּם בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ בַדֶּרֶךְ וּבְשָׁכְבְּךָ וּבְקוּמֶךָ:

And you shall teach them – to your sons – and you shall talk – of them – when you sit – in your house – and when you go – in way – and when you lay down – and when you rise.

The recitation of the Shema fulfills this commandment and the acceptance of G-d’s Absolute Sovereignty by declaring that G-d IS ONE, Unique and Indivisible.  We submit all that we have and all that we are to His Will.

When the people of Israel enact unification by the verse –

In the mystery of the twenty-five letters:

שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהֹוָה אֶחָד

Shema Yisrael, HaShem Elokenu, HaShem ECHAD.


The twenty-four letters –

בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד

Baruch Shem Kevod malkuto le-olam vaed

Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever,

focusing on each one of them, all those letters join as one and ascend to the forty-nine gates, in the mystery of Jubilee. 

One must elevate וָעֶד   Va-ed

And ever – no further – upon which the gates are opened, and the Blessed Holy One considers that person as if he had fulfilled the complete Torah, which appear in forty-nine facets, completely.

By uttering the opening two lines of Shema with devotion and intention, the people of Israel unify Tiferet and Shekhinah.  By focusing on each of the forty-nine letters, they stimulate these letters to join and ascend to their source in the forty-nine gates of Binah, who is known as Jubilee.  With the elevation of the final three letters of the second line – the word –

וָעֶד   Va-ed

And ever

The gates open and the flow of emanation descends.

And when the gates are opened, the Holy One, Blessed be He, Regards each of such person as though he had fulfilled the whole Torah – the Torah which can be viewed from forty-nine aspects. So it is necessary to concentrate heart and mind on both the twenty-five and the twenty-four letters and to raise them with the whole force of intention to the forty-nine gates. . Through concentration on this, one will concentrate on the Unity, for our Master has taught us that the “Hear, O Israel” and the “Blessed be the Name” are the summary of the whole Torah. Zohar Pritzker Edition 2:139b

And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up: Dvarim (Deuteronomy) 6.7

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לַעֲסוֹק בְּדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה.

Blessed are You, G-d our G-d, King of the universe, Who sanctified us with His Commandments, and Commanded us to be engrossed with the Words of the Torah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה הַמְלַמֵּד תּוֹרָה לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל

Blessed are You G-d who Teaches Torah to His people Israel. ( from the Siddur )

בְּאֵין חָזוֹן יִפָּרַע עָם וְשֹׁמֵר תּוֹרָה אַשְׁרֵהוּ: 

Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint;

but he who keeps the Torah is happy:  Mishlei (Proverbs) 29.18

עֵקֶב אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַע אַבְרָהָם בְּקֹלִי וַיִּשְׁמֹר מִשְׁמַרְתִּי מִצְוֹתַי חֻקּוֹתַי וְתוֹרֹתָי:

Because – that –  listened – Abraham – to my voice – and kept – my safeguards – My Mitzotay (Commands) – My Chukotay (Statutes) – and my Torahtay (Teachings)

Because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws: Bereisheit (Genesis) 26.5

Abraham was blessed because he kept HaShem’s Commands and taught his children and those in his household to follow those same ways.  Some say this is blind faith but it is not.  What it is is a total commitment to the Holy One, HaShem ECHAD.

The Divine Presence finds a home in the land of Israel only through the Torah, and it finds a home above only through the Torah. For so my father has said: The Oral Law has been made known only for the sake of the Written Law, and the Shekinah finds a home above and below only through the Torah.Zohar Pritzker Edition 3:268a

We too must find our home, our raison d’etre in the Torah.  So reciting the Shema twice daily will provide us the boost we need to continue our daily journey towards that end.

May we try each day to learn about G-d, to follow His Ways and His Truth

Blessings and Peace

Rebbetzin Revi