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Shema: Whose Voice 3

There are times when we are praying when we don’t really feel that we are speaking as an accumulated voice of all the generations since the sons of Jacob. And then we may feel we are actually talking to ourselves without hearing what we are saying.

The Midrash says we should hear with our ears. That seems obvious—we don’t hear with our eyes! But the truth is that most of us don’t hear with our ears. We hear with our brains and our emotions.

But saying the Shema, we have to more than hear—we have to listen. And that’s why we have to say the words,and not just read them. We have to listen to what we are saying. So that the words themselves will have their effect on us—so that we feel that Shema Yisrael is talking to us as individuals.

Still another way to address the Jewish people as nation. After we are making this declaration in the plural: Hashem Elokeinu, “the Lord is our God.”

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