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Shema: God's Response Print E-mail
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Written by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg   

Holy means that we take our experiences and redirect them positively. And that is how we become “holy to God,” as we declare in the closing to the third paragraph.

In response, God says, “[This is why] I, the Lord, your God, took you out of the land of Egypt to be God to you. I am the Lord your God…”

This declaration is followed by: “It is true and certain, established and enduring … All statements indicating that God is reliable and will fulfill His promises.

We continue to speak of God’s reliability until the Shmone Esrei.

This is what makes a relationship with God unique. Love that is rooted is eternal reliability which nothing can change makes for a most unusual relationship. When we keep that in mind, then the acceptance of Mitzvot and God’s sovereignty is not threatening to us. We don’t feel that God is “lording” over us, or imposing His authority upon us. Rather, we willingly accept the conditions of the relationship with Him out of love.

It becomes a relationship of love. We know that this Being loves us. And in the Shema we seek to let Him know that we love Him as well.

Our whole relationship with God is expressed in the Shema—and countless people have died with this declaration on their lips.

Therefore, it is so very important that we concentrate on its words when we say them, and that we take the time to prepare ourselves beforehand, and to really work on its recitation.

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