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The Shema

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Rabbi Chaim Tabasky

3 Sivan 5766
Question
Can you please tell me the word for word transalation of Duteronomy 6:4 "Hear, Oh Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:" I have heard that this is referred to as "the Shema" What is your commentary on the word Shema/Hear?
Answer
There are several interpretations and resulting translations. According to Rashi, Echad means "universally recognized", hence the translation "Listen, Israel, The L-rd who is [currently recognized as] our G-d, (that is the Jewish people worship Him), [will one day] be recognized by all". According to Maimonides, echod should be translated as unique, and the verse means that although G-d has revealed Himself to man (our G-d), He is nevertheless unique and beyond our comprehension. Ramban understands echod as one, but the words indicating G-d stand for His various attributes (mercy, judgement, etc.) and the statement affirms that all the various manifestations of G-d in the world are indivisible. Shema means hear, listen, pay attention, understand, accept, All are valid.
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