Rabbi Lewis Eron for Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
Rewards and Blessing
The heart of our worship service is our declaration of love and loyalty to the one and unique God - the prayer we know as the Shema. The first six words (Deuteronomy 6:4) are deeply imbedded in every Jews' soul - "Hear O Israel, the Eternal is our God, the Eternal is One!" These six words form the basic Hebrew prayer vocabulary shared by all Jews and expresses the sacred ties that bind us together.
But the Shema is longer than those six words. The opening declaration is followed first by a response proclaiming the glory of the God's dominion and then by three long paragraphs from the Torah underscoring our binding relationship to God through what we say, do and feel.
The first of these paragraphs, Deuteronomy 6:5-9, the prayer that begins with the word "Ve'ahavta", expresses our promise to love God with all our intellectual, emotional and physical abilities and our commitment to demonstrate this love in our daily lives. Within this paragraph are the roots of our custom of placing a meuzzah on our door posts and our tradition of wearing tefillin during worship and the foundation of our people's commitment to values education.
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