“Blessed is the man who trusts in HaShem, then HaShem will be his security. He will be like a tree planted near water, which spreads out its roots along a brook and does not see when heat comes, whose foliage is ever fresh; it will not worry in a year of drought and will not stop producing fruit.” Yirmiyah (Jeremiah) 17:7-8
In a world which is constantly competing for our attention via entertainment, pleasures of the flesh, diversions and the emergencies and catastrophes of life, now more than ever, in my opinion, it is vitally important we each know exactly to whom our loyalties lie and to whom is the authority in our lives! Do we seek after our own pleasures and after our own desires of the heart, or do we desire more than futility without purpose?
In the Temple of HaShem in Jerusalem there were the Shacharit (Morning) Services and the Minchah (Afternoon) Services, in which a lamb was slaughtered and offered up as Olah (Burnt) Korbonot (Offering) to HaShem. Part of these services involved the people who would declare to whom they would submit and remain loyal i.e. HaShem, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Elohim of Israel! This continued after the Temple was destroyed by Rome in 70 AD in the form of the Shacharit and Minchah liturgical prayers we read in the Siddur. These prayers take the place of the Temple Services while we await the rebuilding of the Temple of HaShem in Jerusalem.
I am always so disappointed when I read on various blogs people who reject the Siddur claiming the prayers are all “Added by the Rabbis and are not in the Torah, thus they must be rejected and regarded as nothing more than trash.” How much it must grieve the heart of HaShem when He hears these sentiments as well? How much is being lost when people are rejecting the very tools HaShem gave us to learn the deeper meanings of His Word?
The purpose of this Op is not to bash anyone, but to focus and highlight on the astounding intricacies and vital importance of what we know to be called ‘The Shema’ Prayer. Not to mention to experience interacting with HaShem and doing what our forefathers did when drawing near to Him. Keep all of this in mind as we proceed, but before we jump into the heart of this Op, always remember the following:
– HaShem never changes per Num 23:19/Mal 3:6/Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17
– His Word is firmly established per Psalm 119:89
– He reveals the end out of the beginning per Is 46:10
– He does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets per Amos 3:7
– He says there is nothing new under the sun per Ecclesiastes 1:9
– He says His Torah is eternal per Proverbs 3:19 and Psalm 119:160
– He says His Torah is perfect and restores the soul per Psalm 19:7
– He says His Torah makes the simple one wise per Psalm 19:7
– He says His Torah Is freedom and liberty per Psalm Ps 119:45 and James 1:25
– He says His Torah is the only good doctrine there is Proverbs 4:2
– He says His Torah will add length of days and years of life and peace per Proverbs 3:2
– He says all of the ways of His Torah are ways of pleasantness and peace per Proverbs 3:17
– He says His Torah is for our good and well-being per Deuteronomy 6:24
– He says His Torah is health for our lives per Proverbs 3:8
– He says His Torah is life to our soul and a graceful ornament for our neck per Prov 3:22
– He says His Torah is better than pearls and all desires cannot compare to it per Prov 8:11
– He says those who walk with His Torah are praiseworthy per Psalms 119:1
– He says observing His Torah is how we purify our path per Psalms 119:9
– He says His Torah is better than thousands in gold and silver per Psalms 119:72
– He says His Torah brings abundant peace to those who love Him and His Torah per Psalms 119:165
– He says there is one Torah for all per Exodus 12:49/Leviticus 24:22
– He says those who hate His Torah love death per Proverbs 8:36
For those who would question the validity of the liturgical prayers recorded in the Siddur, I would direct them to I Chronicles 28:11-13 which says “David then gave to his son Solomon the tavnit (Blueprints) for the Hall and its structures, storage rooms, upper chambers and inner rooms, and for the Chamber of the Ark-Cover, and the tavnit (Blueprints) for all that he had with him by Divine Inspiration, for the courtyards of the Temple of HaShem, and for all the chambers all around, for the storage rooms of the Temple of Elohim, and for the treasuries of the consecrated items, as well as the tavnit (Blueprints) for the divisions of the Kohanim and the Levites, and for all the WORK OF THE SERVICES of the Temple of HaShem, and for all the vessels for the service of the Temple of HaShem.” What does this mean? It means everything done in the Temple to include the Temple Services, the prayers compiled and recited, the Siddur, etc, is ALL given by the Ruach (Spirit) of HaShem to David and who gave it to Solomon to use as the tavnit (Blueprints) for the construction and performance of the Temple! Means nothing was changed, added too or taken away because there is zero authority to do so! I digress.
The Hebrew word ‘Shema’ is best translated as ‘Hear and then Do!‘ It is not an intellectual hearing where one hears something and believes it in their minds but does nothing else. It is the type of hearing as exemplified by Abraham in that he heard the Words of HaShem and then he did them, he put them into practice i.e. the definition of ‘Faith’.
Consider the purpose of the Shema is to declare that only HaShem, the Elohim the Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Elohim of Israel, is One and only He is my King! There is no other and I will not bow to any other!
There are a total of 245 Hebrew words which comprise the Shema, but if we are alone, we add the following three words at the beginning “Elohim, trustworthy King”, which makes it 248 Hebrew words, one word for each human organ in the human body! It is meant to reinforce that the purpose for our physical existence is to obey the precepts of His Torah and exalt His Great Name in the universe!
The Shema consists of three paragraphs which are all derived from the Torah of HaShem and begins with “Hear, O Israel: HaShem is our Elohim, HaShem, the One and Only”:
- Paragraph One – Derived from Devarim (Deuteronomy) 6:5-6 which says “You shall love HaShem, your Elohim with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your resources. Let these matters that I command you today be upon your heart. Teach them thoroughly to your children and speak of them while you sit in your home, while you walk on the way, when you retire and when you arise. Bind them as a sign upon your arm and let them be tefillin between your eyes. And write them on the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.” This paragraph we are commanded to put on phylacteries (Tefillin) as a sign upon our arm and our eyes (Always fixed upon HaShem), affix mezuzah’s on the doors of our homes (Proclaiming His Name over our homes).
- Paragraph Two – Derived from Devarim 11:13-21 which says “And it will come to pass that if you continually hearken to My commandments that I command you today, to love HaShem, then I will provide rain for your land in its proper time, the early and late rains, that you may gather in your grain, your wine, and your oil. I will provide grass in your field for your cattle and you will eat and be satisfied. Beware lest your heart be seduced and you turn astray and serve gods of others and bow to them. Then the wrath of HaShem will blaze against you. He will restrain the heaven so there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its produce. And you will will swiftly be banished from the goodly land which HaShem gives you. Place these words of Mine upon your heart and upon your soul; bind them for a sign upon your arm and let them be tefillin between your eyes. Teach them to your children, to discuss them, while you sit in your home, while you walk on the way, when you retire and when you arise. And write them on the doorposts of your house and upon your gates. In order to prolong your days and the days of your children upon the ground that HaShem has sworn to your ancestors to give them, like the days of the heaven on the earth.” Again He re-states the command to put on tefillin as a sign between our arm and our eyes i.e. to always be fixed upon HaShem in our daily lives.
- Paragraph Three – Derived from Bamidbar (Numbers) 15:37-41 which says “And HaShem said to Moshe saying: ‘Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them that they are to make themselves tzitzis on the corners of their garments, throughout their generations. And they are to place upon the tzitzis of each corner a thread of techeilet (Blue String). And it shall constitute tzitzis for you, that you may see it and remember all the commandments of HaShem and perform them; and not explore after your heart and after your eyes after which you stray. So that you may remember and perform all My commandments; and be holy to your Elohim. I am HaShem, your Elohim, Who has removed you from the land of Egypt to be a Elohim to you. I am HaShem your Elohim, it is true.'” Here in this paragraph HaShem commands the wearing of tzitzit (Fringes) on the four corners of our garments so that when we see them we will not explore after our own hearts and eyes and end up straying from HaShem, but to remember to perform His Torah!
The Shema then recites four paragraphs declaring Who HaShem is:
- “And certain, established and enduring, fair, and faithful, beloved and cherished, delightful and pleasant, awesome and powerful, correct and accepted, good and beautiful is this affirmation to us forever and ever. True, the Elohim of the universe is our King; the Rock of Jacob is the Shield of our salvation. From generation to generation He endures and His Name endures and His throne is well established; His sovereignty and faithfulness endure forever. His words are living and enduring, faithful and delightful forever and to all eternity; for our forefathers and for us, for our children and for our generations, and for all the generations of Your servant Israel’s offspring.”
- “Upon the earlier and upon later generations, this affirmation is good and enduring forever. True and faithful, it is an unbreachable decree. It is true that You are HaShem, our Elohim and the Elohim of our forefathers, our King and the King of our forefathers, our Redeemer, the Redeemer of our forefathers; our Molder, the Rock of our salvation; our Liberator and our Rescuer, this has ever been Your Name. There is no Elohim but You.”
- “The Helper of our forefathers are You alone, forever, Shield and Savior for their children after them in every generation. At the zenith of the universe is Your dwelling, and Your justice and Your righteousness extend to the ends of the earth. Praiseworthy is the person who obeys Your commandments and takes to his heart Your teaching and Your word. True, You are the Master for Your people and a mighty King to take up their grievances. True, You are the First and You are the Last, and other than You we have no King, Redeemer, or Savior. From Egypt You redeemed us, HaShem, our Elohim, and from the house of slavery You liberated us. All their firstborn You slew, but Your firstborn You redeemed; the Sea of Reeds You split; the wanton sinners You drowned; the dear ones You brought across; and the water covered their foes, not one of them was left. For this, the beloved praised and exalted Elohim; the dear ones offered hymns, songs, praises, blessings, and thanksgivings to the King, the living and enduring Elohim, exalted and uplifted, great and awesome, Who humbles the haughty and lifts the lowly; withdraws the captive, liberates the humble, and helps the poor; Who responds to His people upon their outcry to Him.”
- “Praises to the Supreme Elohim, the blessed One Who is blessed. Moshe and the children of Israel exclaimed a song to You with great joy and they all said: ‘Who is like You among the heavenly powers, HaShem! Who is like You, mighty in holiness, too awesome for praise, doing wonders.’ With a new song the redeemed ones praised Your Name at the seashore, all of them in unison gave thanks, acknowledged Your sovereignty and said: ‘HaShem shall reign for all eternity’ Rock of Israel, arise to the aid of Israel and liberate, as You pledged, Judah and Israel. Our Redeemer, HaShem, Master of Legions, is His Name, the Holy One of Israel. Blessed are You, HaShem, Who redeemed Israel.”
The Shema expresses very well how HaShem is Our King! Imagine how your life will change when you adopt declaring this every morning before beginning your day? Imagine how life will change when you adopt this before going to bed at night? Point is, it will help keep HaShem at the forefront of our lives as we walk through each day and before we retire at night to bed! I know from personal experience!!
Now some may ask ‘Did Yeshua ever mention the Shema?’ The answer is an emphatic YES! Mark 12:28-32 says “And one of the scribes coming near, hearing them reasoning together, knowing that He had answered them well, asked Him, ‘Which is the first command of all?’ And Yeshua answered him, ‘The first of all the commands is, ‘Shema, O Israel, HaShem our Elohim, HaShem is One (Quoting Devarim 6:4).’ ‘And you shall love HaShem your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength (Quoting Devarim 6:5).’ This is the first command. And the second is like it, is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as your self (Quoting Vayikra/Leviticus 19:18).’ There is no other command greater than these.'”
So yes, Yeshua did in fact quote, support and reinforce the Shema! This would include the tefillin, mezuzahs and tzitzit, which again would show by default Yeshua Himself wore tefillin and tzitzit! This again separates Yeshua from the one Replacement Theology props up and displays for the world to see for per the doctrine we see that one tosses Torah to include the Shema outside, declares it all having been done away with and per all the paintings we see, wears Roman senatorial garments, with a red sash, long flowing locks of hair, blue eyes, etc. Nothing like the Yeshua of the Word of HaShem. I digress.
This is just a short Op to quickly discuss The Shema. There is much for all of us to consider and I encourage everyone to check this out for themselves.
Have a blessed week.
- The Scriptures by the Institute for Scripture Research
- The Artscroll Siddur
- The Stone Edition Chumash by Artscroll
- The Writings I-II Chronicles by Artscroll
- The Writings Jeremiah by Artscroll