Parsha Mitzvot-Vaetchanan-Mitzvah 419-Concept 76-Shema II
Transcribed and unedited: So the first section was the laws of – Audience: “Kriyat Shema.” Kriyat Shema, right. Now there is one commandment in the laws of Kriyat Shema it is a positive commandment and that positive commandment is – Audience: “You should love thy G-d.” No we already did ‘love thy G-d.’ Audience: “Oh, I am sorry.” You better watch your other hand now. No Tefillin is a separate section. Audience: “It will take us a while to get up to that.” Audience: “To say it twice.” To say the Shema twice a day. Audience: “Oh, twice or there times?” Twice. Audience: “You are over doing it.” Right, there you go.
And then where does it say in the Torah you are supposed to say these words twice a day? Audience: “In the Shema.” Shema is in the Torah. Audience: “Yes, right.” Thank you. But you just brought up an incredible point. Part of what you say in Shema is that you should be saying this twice a day. It is weird, is it not?
V’Dibartah Bam, and you should speak again, B’Shivtechah B’veytechah, when you are sitting in your house, U’Velechtechah Baderech, when you are going on the way, U’beshachbechah U’v kumechah, when you go to sleep and when you get up. So? When you go to sleep and when you get up.
In other words part of Shema is that you say, you have to say Shema twice a day. Is that not a little strange? Part of the mitzvah is that you say, “I have to do this mitzvah twice a day.” That is part of the mitzvah. Does that not strike you as being a little, not incestuous but—Audience: “Self serving?” Thank you. Yes. No? Audience: “Yes.” Why no? You are disagreeing with everyone else here. I think that is self-serving. Audience: “In situations when you are home and when you are not home, all the boundaries, you know.”
But if that is true then how do you know U’beshachbechah U’vkumechah that you are obligated to say the Shema twice. Audience: “U’vkumechah.” Who said U’vkumechah? Audience: What I am saying is that it is ‘and’, it is not” B’Shivtechah B’veytechah, U’Velechtechah Baderech, so maybe you have to say it every day when you are singing in your house. Or when you go out of your house you have to say it again and then you have to do it once in the morning and once in the evening. A little strange, is it not?
And the way it is presented is not that you say it in the morning and in the evening, but that you say it at the time that people are going to sleep and at the time that people are waking up. Audience: “But that could of been more then twice? Waking up.” No I think it is generally when you go to sleep. You have people who work all night and sleep during the day. Audience: “How does he deal with that concept that when you go to sleep you are partially laid back?” I do not know. Audience: “The first and last thing is most important to you?” Pardon? Audience: “The first and last thing is most important?” It probably is. The last and the first thing are most important to you.
However when did Adam – we know that right away in creation night came before day. Right? But when Adam was created, which came first? Audience: “Day.” He was created during the day, so for Adam the day came first. So when did night come first? For Adam? Adam’s whole system was day first. He was created during the day so that means for Adam it was always day, night, day, night, day, night. Audience: “After he ate – Shabbat.” Why? Audience: “After he ate because everything was dark.” G-d created Shabbat. So what he saw dark and this is the end of the day. Audience: “Yes, but it is the first night for him.” That was the first night but when did Adam start thinking of night as the beginning of the day instead of the end. Which one do you really think of as the beginning of the day. Audience: “I do not think there is a beginning or end, I think it is the same.” If someone would say to you, “When does the day begin?” What would you say? Audience: “Sunrise.” Sunrise, naturally. Because that is when Adam was created. It is part of being a human being. Even in Argentina. Pardon? Audience: “The Jewish concept of calendar.”
But when did that become part of the way we thought? Pesach. The first time we had an experience of something beginning at night was with Pesach. Leaving Egypt. Audience: “What about Shabbat? It started-” But that was not our experience. In fact, they began Shabbat at night only at Marah. Remember? Audience: “No.” It may even be at Har Sinai that they began to keep Shabbat. Audience: “But the creation of Shabbat-” But he does not know that Shabbat was created. Adam does not know that Shabbat is created. Audience: “That is all, I thought it meant that Adam kept Shabbat.” Yes so who says, you think it means he kept Shabbat the same way, he had a blech and this and that. Right. But many midrashim say that they kept Shabbat day and then night. In fact in your Haggadah you say that they kept Shabbat day and then night. Right? Audience: “I will take your word.” Can you pass the Haggadah here please, it is right behind you. Shabbat was given twice, one was in the Asseret HaDibrot and the other is at Marah before Sinai. Remember when Moses took the stick and made the waters bitter. I mean he took a bitter stick and threw it into bitter water, made the water sweet. So that taught them the laws of Shabbat there, correct? Thank you. I do now know why it is so complicated. Okay.
The Bible – the Bible. But a human being thinks of it beginning at day time. Audience: “Not necessarily.” Audience: “But you said when we decided when we–” When did we begin to accept it that way as a functional way of our living? When you see the first time you have a human being beginning something at night rather than doing it at the day. Audience: “What was the point at Har Sinai when they got this and they read it was evening and there was morning. It is not there.” No even before. They began to experience something before then. That was Pesach. Audience: “Why did they do it then?” Pesach began at night.
Do you know what the translation of the word Pesach is? So it either means Passover or it means a mouth that converses and the Aramaic translation of Pesach is love. Audience: “Is not Pesach the door post?” No. Yes. That he passed over, right. Audience: “Pesach.” That is with a tuff. Right, so it either means to pass over which is what we say or Pesach in Kabbalah, mouth that converses. Or it means love. That is how Targum translates Pesach. That G-d showed his love for us with Pesach.
So now you begin to understand why when one mitzvah that defines itself by speaking about night before day is a mitzvah that reflects love. It is an interesting thing. And in fact we find that this is exactly the way we say Kriyat Shema because the blessing before Shema always speaks of – Audience: “Ahavah Rabah.” Right, G-d’s love for us.
So before you say the Shema, which mentions that we have to love G-d, you say that G-d loves us. Audience: “Where do we say that?” Ahavah Rabah in Ashkenaz. People davening in the real siddur say Ahavat Olam. Now what is important to know is that there is a difference between the mitzvah of loving and the mitzvah of speaking about loving G-d.
Because you already have the mitzvah which tripped up Geraldine. You already have the mitzvah in Hilchot Yisodey HaTorah about loving G-d. Right? That was mitzvah number, what was it? –five. That was number four. So mitzvah number four was to love G-d. This is a separate mitzvah which includes speaking about love of G-d which takes us back to the Rambam’s introduction of Sefer Ahavah: ‘Kol HaYom Hih Sichatih’, that the entire day is part of my conversation to talk about the mitzvah to love G-d.
So part of Kriyat Shema, part of the mitzvah of Kriyat Shema right away we know is to talk about other things. And the fact that it is a funny word- translate the words Kriyat, which mean to read, Shema, the hearing. Read the hearing. It is a strange thing. It should be read the conversation. Audience: “But Kriyat can also be the calling.” Or the calling of the hearing. So what? It is just a strange way of saying it. Say the calling of the calling. What is the calling of the hearing?
That the main thing is that when you call out you have to be able to hear which is why you must understand the Shema you are saying. You must say it in a language you understand. Which is why you have to be able to hear the words as you are saying them. You should not just say them under your breath, like that, you know the way people do it in shul. You have to be able to say it and there is even a machloket in the mishna about whether you fulfill your obligation if you say the Shema and you do not pronounce each and every word correctly. For example people say V’Ahavta Et. You do not fulfill your obligation because V’Ahavta means and you loved, V’Ahavta means and you shall love.
But anyway I gave eight weeks on Kriyat Shema in the prayer class, practical prayer series. I do not want to go into it too much. But you find in Kriyat Shema includes Tefillin, it includes Mezuzah, and yet this does not include those mitzvot. It is simply speaking about those mitzvot and speaking about the idea of Shema itself.
So really the Kriyat Shema is to be conversant or to converse, rather, to converse with yourself constantly about the mitzvot and including the mitzvah of learning Torah, including the mitzvah of Teffilin, including the mitzvah of love of G-d. Right. All of these things. So Kriyat Shema is teaching us the concept that it is one thing to fulfill a mitzvah. There is an entirely different aspect in which you talk about a mitzvah which is fundamental.
Because let us say that I am at a stage of my life in which I am slowly developing into observance of mitzvot. I am not yet ready but I am willing to talk about it. Kriyat Shema says that there is value in the conversation and in the discussion and the argument and the consideration even before you are actually ready to fulfill the mitzvah. And that there is value to the discussion of the mitzvot even when you are fulfilling the mitzvah. There are two separate things which is a very powerful idea.
It is also teaching us the idea of how you have to talk about the mitzvot you observe. It is insufficient simply to observe a mitzvah. You must talk about it, you have to think about it, you have to be involved with it. All mitzvot because really Kriyat Shema we say includes all of the mitzvot. Which is why you have a Yerushalmi in Berachot and – the Jerusalem Talmud and the Tractate of Berachot – it describes how you can find each one of the ten statements in the Shema.
The G-d who took you out of Egypt, Ani Hashem Elokeichem Asher Hotzeitih Etchem Mei’Eretz Mitzrayim Lihiyot Lachem Leilokim, Lo Yihiyeh Lecha Elokim Acheirim, Pen Yivteh Levavechem V’Sartem Va’avadetem elokim Acheirim. All these things that you should– to my name, Hashem Echad. Right? All the things. Zachor At Yom HaShabbat V’Kadesho = Lema’an Tizkeruh et Kol Mitzvotay Veheyetem Kedoshim Lelokeichem. Kabeid Et Avicha V’et Imecha L’Ma’an Yarichuh Yamecha = L’Ma’an Yirbu Yimeichem Vemey V’Neichem Al HaAdamah. So anything you find in the ten statements you find in the Shema. Then the Gemarah says, “Well actually you can find all six hundred and thirteen in the Shema.” And then if you count the number of words in the Shema it is forty-eight. How many steps do you need to acquire Torah? Forty-eight. So therefore all the forty-eight ways to acquire Torah are in the Shema. Unbelievable. Audience: “You can find the six hundred and thirteen in the Shema?” Yes it is Yerushalmi when says anyone who is really interested can figure it out for himself.
You know the Chazan says Hashem Elokeichem Emet to himself and then says those three words over because there are two hundred and forty five words in the Shema. You read an additional three so that you have two forty-eight. And if you are davening by yourself and you do not have a Chazan who is going to say Hashem Elokeichem Emet a second time you say Eil Melech Ne’eman at the beginning. So you have to have two forty- eight. Two forty-eight represents all the positive commandments.
Shema is a very interactive mitzvah or rather the concept that we learn from Shema is that all of the mitzvot are supposed to be interactive. It is really the one that is telling us that Shema, or mitzvot, are not simply something you observe, that they are something that you are involved in.
Audience: “Not only that but if you keep on saying Shema and let us say you do not observe the other laws and you really say it with meaning. If you get to the point that you believe you are crazy because you say, ‘Well I should do this and I should do this and I should this,’ and if you are not doing it either you do not say the Shema or you start doing some other things because it gets into your skin.” Yes. Audience: “You get crazy.” So maybe you should say it ten times a day. Okay. Audience: “So you are very angry and you cannot say with what.” Say it anyway.
What happens if a husband and wife are angry with each other and they just cannot say to each other, “I love you”? You should not say it? Say it anyway. Audience: “Yes but you usually do not if you cannot say it unfortunately.” Just the opposite. A good marriage will say that. Audience: “Okay it is true, you are right.” I am not saying that every marriage is a good marriage. No comments here. Okay. Now Shema includes either, you know, basic ideas which is the acceptance of the yoke of heaven, the acceptance that G-d is your lord, the acceptance of the mitzvot. First paragraph is acceptance of the yoke of heaven. The second one is acceptance of the mitzvot and the whole idea of reward and punishment. So I think without going into it to much that is what we will do with the Shema.
Audience: “Where did you get to that Shabbat starts in the day?” Oh it is right here. Page nineteen. Line twenty-one. Audience: “In Dayeinu?” Yes. Audience: “How, I do not see it.” I do not know how much of this I can take. It is unbelievable. Audience: “It is so obvious.” Audience: “Now go and figure it out for yourself.” Tzei O’Lemad. That is what it says in the Hagadah. ‘Go out and learn.’ Okay let us go on. All right? I will need it to you. I will show you. My G-d, my G-d. Audience: “In the morning we will find out that is what he said.” Oh come on. Come on. Even homiletically that is terrible. Okay. Sixteen is referring to what? Red sea, correct? Okay what happened after the Red Sea? The first thing that happened after the Red Sea. Audience: “Waters?” The bitter waters. Okay. All right and what happened at the bitter waters, the bitter waters? And G-d gave us, Sham Sam Loh Chok U’Mishpat V’Sham Nisahuh. There we got the laws of Shabbat. So Lo [?Sipay?] Tzarcheinu Ba’Midbar Arbayim Shanah He’echilanu et HaMan. The man came after Mara. Audience: “I thought it came in the morning also.” The man came after Mara and it came in the morning by the way. Exactly. Then it says Shabbat. Which Shabbat is it referring to? Cannot be referring to Shabbat of Mara because Mara came before [?Sipay?] Tzarcheinu Ba’Midbar Arbayim Shanah and before the man. So if you say this is Shabbat of Har Sinai, cannot be. Look at the next line.
Ilu Kiravnu Le’Fenei Har Sinai. So this has got to be before Har Sinai. Then it says Ilu Karavnu Le’Fenei Har Sinai V’Lo Natan Lanu Et HaTorah, which is also crazy, right? What is the difference between Har Sinai and giving us the Torah? That is an entirely different thing. So what they say is Karavnu Lefnei Har Sinai is referring to the second Luchot. Audience: “You mean the second set?” The second set. Now may I have your Chumash please? Ladies and gentlemen, the envelope please. Listen to the difference. He said he did not know you won an oscar. That I? They say there is a little thespian in anyone who gives a sermon. Okay listen to this. Ready? All right. I hope this works. Okay. This is the first Aseret HaDibrot. You should remember the Shabbat day to keep it holy. Kih Sheishet Yamin Asah Hashem et Hashamayim V’Et HaAretz because in six days G-d made the heavens and the earth and the sea that is everything in them. Va’Yanach Ba’Yom HashveeE. So referring to creation. Okay. Second tablets. V’Zacharta Kih Eved HaYitah B’Eretz Mizrayim. You should remember that you were slaves in Egypt. Va’Yotziatcha Hashem Elochecha MiSham B’Yad Chazacha O’Bizroah Netuya. And that G-d took you out. Two different things. Creation of the world – human beings thought of the day starting with the morning because Adam was created in the morning. The only time that you begin thinking of starting at night was with leaving Egypt. Therefore Shabbat starting at night only was with the second Luchot. Not with the first. And this Shabbat therefore is referring to the second Luchot, not the first.
Audience: “What second Luchot?” Audience: “I do not see how you prove it.” Audience: “But the first was–” That is because the order in which it is being put in is telling you it is not referring to the Luchot here. It is not referring to the first Luchot. Audience: “Yes but it says–” Audience: “But if they left before giving the first Luchot they got the idea of the beginning of the day in the night–” Because the first Luchot were reflective of Shabbat of creation because G-d wanted to take them back to where they were before the sin of the tree. The second Luchot were dealing with people who had made a golden calf. So it was taking them back to now their very human state. Their very human state was more reflective of Egypt then of the creation of the world. Therefore it starts at night. Audience: “When did we actually start, going back to the original part, when did we actually start looking at the beginning of the day–” Can she finish? Thank you. Audience: “When did we actually start looking at the beginning of the day at night?” Leaving Egypt. Audience: “Okay.” That is the first time we were introduced to the idea that we actually experienced something, a major significant event beginning at night. Does not mean that from then on we began to see things at night but it is the first time we were introduced to something beginning at night. Now again.
From the order you see that from the Shabbat it is referring to here is not referring to the Shabbat of Mara and it is not referring to the Shabbat of the Luchot. Okay so therefore the explanation that is given is as follows. That this Shabbat is being taken out of context to tell you that it was Shabbat of leaving Egypt, so it is the combination of both. It was the leaving Egypt that gave it to us at night and it was Har Sinai, which gave us the laws of Shabbat. So it is put in the middle to tell you that this is the Shabbat that we have. The Shabbat before was a day Shabbat. This is the first Shabbat that was a night Shabbat. It is being moved out of its context to tell you that it is in the middle. And there is actually a progression if you watch the event one by one you see that they are changing so they are going back to something that once was, all the while moving forward. That is all. I do not know if it is a compelling proof. The proof from here is that do not think of Shabbat as only Har Sinai or only Mara. That is really what it meant.