In the lack of acknowledging God in today’s sophisticated society the practice of remembering the Lord no more has lost something the Jews still practice and why they understand the need of God’s Love
“Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Dt 6: 4 - 5. The second time that the words given to Moses on Mt Sinai were repeated by him.
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Mt. 22: 36- 40. The similarity between Love of God and Love of neighbor is found in the Love itself.
Shema means learning to Listen to and to Love God. There is more to the practice than just the first words. It is an affirmation of Judaism and a declaration of faith in one God. The obligation to recite the Shema is separate from the obligation to pray and a Jew is obligated to say Shema in the morning and at night.
There are no less than many writers and teachers who are constantly conveying these words to the public about the need to not just believe in our Lord and his love, but the practice of the Shema is a practical method of calling on God in an individual connection between God and ourselves.
We’re missing the mandate from Jesus to pray constantly and too often the words many utter somehow fill the air with sound from our mouths but not from our hears. We may not see the sense in repeating the “Hear O Israel”, but it opens a connection to God because we got his attention. The practice of hearing these words can never be too often. Without the repetition of God’s decree to pray, the further we get from his presence.
These last several years of violence, hatred towards various peoples, a lack of Christian ideals from leaders, and the obvious turning away from God has set us on the path to oblivion.
The words “Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone” are not just comforting but a sure mandate that the more we ignore this premise the quicker we shall slide into a world without substance.
Ralph B. Hathaway, Shema 2021