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Vayechi-Jacob's Farewell-Baruch Shem Kivod Malchuto Print E-mail

ShemaOne of the most famous verses we recite as part of Shema appears in the Talmud (Pesachim 56) and Midrash on this week’s portion. The Foundation Stone™ presents a special series this week to help us understand this famous sentence. We invite you to participate and send in your thoughts and insights:

R. Simeon b. Lakish said: And Jacob called unto his sons, and said: Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you [that which shall befall you in the end of days]. Jacob wished to reveal to his sons the ‘end of the days’, whereupon the Shechinah departed from him. Said he, ‘Perhaps, Heaven forfend! There is one unfit among my children, like Abraham, from whom there issued Ishmael, or like my father Isaac, from whom there issued Esau.’ [But] his sons answered him, ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God the Lord is One: just as there is only One in thy heart, so is there in our heart only One.’ In that moment our father Jacob opened [his mouth] and exclaimed, ‘Blessed be the name of
His glorious kingdom for ever and ever.’

Said the Rabbis, How shall we act? Shall we recite it, — but our Teacher Moses did not say it. Shall we not say it — but Jacob said it! [Hence] they enacted that it should be recited quietly.

R. Isaac said, The School of R. Ammi said: This is to be compared to a king's daughter who smelled a spicy pudding. If she reveals [her desire], she suffers disgrace; if she does not reveal it, she suffers pain. So her servants began bringing it to her in secret. R. Abbahu said: They [the Sages] enacted that this should be recited aloud, on account of the resentment of heretics. But in Nehardea, where there are no heretics so far, they recite it quietly.
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