Shema

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  • Topic: Judaism, Shema Yisrael, Jewish services
  • Pages : 2 (753 words )
  • Download(s) : 385
  • Published : October 15, 2009
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The Shema 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 Deut. 6:7).” The first line of the Shema, "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One" (Shema Yisrael Adonai eloheinu Adonai ehad Deut. 6:4) is repeated throughout the prayer services. It is said in the morning blessings, in the musaf Amidah of Shabbat and holidays, when the Torah is taken out of the Ark on Shabbat and holidays, as a bedtime prayer, as part of the deathbed confessional, and at various other times. The Shema may be said while standing or sitting. The Jews of Israel used to stand to show the Shema's importance and to demonstrate that saying Shema is an act of testifying in God (testimony in a Jewish court is always given while standing). It is customary for worshipers wearing a tallit to hold the four fringes in the left hand while reciting the Shema. In the third paragraph of the Shema, when the word "tzitzit" is said three times and when the word "emet" is said at the end, it is customary to kiss the fringes as a sign of affection for the commandments. When a person is praying alone, he begins the Shema with the phrase "God, Faithful King" (El melekh ne'eman) to bring the number of words in the Shema up to 248, the number of parts in the human body. This indicates that the worshiper dedicates his or her whole body to serving God. With a minyan, the chazzan repeats the end of the Shema so this phrase is unnecessary. The first paragraph is the continuation of the Shema verse, from Deut.6:5-9, starting with the word "v'ahavta." This paragraph deals with the acceptance of Divine rule. This section consists of an affirmation of belief in God's unity and in His sovereignty over the world, an unconditional love of God, and a commitment to the study of His teachings. It emphasizes the religious duties to love God, to teach...
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