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Baruch Shem Kivod Malchuto IV: Rav Yosef Passi

“And Jacob called his sons, and he said, “Gather and hear.” When Jacob asked them to gather, he was referring to physically gathering. When he asked them to hear, he was addressing their souls. This is similar to, “Come up to Me on the mountain, and be there.” (Exodus 24:12) Rabbi Yosef Passi explains that God called Moshe to physically climb up the mountain, and “be there” with your full attention without thoughts of anything other than being with Me.

“And hear,” Jacob’s charge to their souls, is a term that implies, “Kabbalat Ol Malchut Shamayim,” – Acceptance of the Yoke of Heaven. (Semag, Positive Commandment #70)

When we declare “Shema Yisrael,” we address our Patriarch Israel, who is buried in Hebron, that we have accepted his charge to “Hear” in every sense of the word.

Just as he responded, “Barush shem kivod Malchuto,” to his sons, we whisper the words to say that Jacob continues to respond “Baruch shem” every time his children say Shema and accept the yoke of heaven.

Jacob repeats himself, “And hear Israel your father,” as if to say that when you accept to “Hear” – say the Shema – you connect your souls with mine, and together we will declare God’s Unity.

At that moment, all the inhabitants of heaven give great honor to Jacob for inspiring all his descendants to declare Shema. (Sefer Chareidim)

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