Ramifications of Shema

Ramifications of the Shema

In the previous article we explained the second phrase in the Shema as: “we recognize that the Lord is the only power – and that we pledge to live our lives in light of that recognition”. In this article we will examine some of the ramifications of aligning one’s life to conform to the truth of God’s absolute mastery of all.

Trust

One practical ramification of living the truth of the Shema is the sense of trust, security and peace. To the degree that one is aware that there is no power on earth beside God, to that same degree will this person be at peace. The knowledge that no one or no force can harm us or bring us benefit aside from our loving Father removes all false hopes and all false fears from our hearts. The recognition that we are only here as an expression of His love, and that all that we could hope for is completely in His hands, brings us to a complete and total trust in God (Psalm 131:2).

Gratitude, Love and Relationship

Another practical ramification of living the truth of Shema is the development of an attitude of gratitude, love and constant connection with God. As our minds fill with the recognition that all that we possess came to us through God, our hearts fill with boundless gratitude towards the One who gives us all. We learn to feel His love in every breath we take, because we appreciate that each and every breath is a gift from Him. When you live the Shema, every wisp of wind is a caress from your Father, the beauty in your life is a thoughtful gift from God, and you learn to sense His embrace on a constant basis.

Obedience

Every action that we take as created beings can only be for one of two reasons; either in the hope of gaining pleasure or for the purpose of escaping pain. The pleasure and the pain can occur on many levels; it could be physical, emotional, or spiritual, but this is the motivation behind all of our actions. In order to take an action to gain pleasure or to escape pain we must be convinced that there is a reasonable chance that our action will produce the desired effect. But once it becomes clear to us that God is the only true power, we then know that He is the only one that can grant us pleasure and that He is the only one that can protect us from pain. Once this truth is firmly planted in our minds we come to the realization that disobedience towards God can never give us any benefit or protect us from any pain. Absorbing the truth of the Shema leads to a life of obedience towards God.

No Idolatry

The truth of the Shema prevents us from falling into idolatry. The sin of idolatry occurs when we allow our hearts to be lead astray by one of God’s creations. When we see any force or any being that exists inside of God’s creation as a true master of our destiny, or even over one aspect of our destiny, and we are persuaded to submit ourselves to this force, we have committed idolatry. With the truth of the Shema in front of our eyes, we will never make this mistake. The Shema declares that everything that exists is equally subservient to the One all-powerful God. No force and no being can be seen as a true master over any aspect of our destiny. Any force or any being that we can imagine can only be a servant of the One true God because its existence can only be a gift from the One true God.

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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3 Responses to Ramifications of Shema

  1. Shomer says:

    My personal ramification of Shema was that I abolished expressions like “Lord” or “God”. Moshe mentions in the Shema ELOHIM and YHVH only. I understood that “Lord” must be translated into Hebrew as “Baal” and that “God” was derived from the Idol “Gad” (Isaiah 65:11-12 [Engl.: Troop]), or a renamed Greek pagan divinity (Theos [Zeus] – Deo, Dio, Dios, Dieu). Thus I cannot understand Jewish habit not to take the “name of the Lord thy God in vain” by writing these two pagan expressions with a writing mistake as “L-rd” or “G-d”.

    2Mo 23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

    As a former Christian these two abolished expressions mentioned, to me, are number two and three only; number one is the so-called “name above all names”, the pagan name of the semi-god “Jesus”. Moshe didn’t know him – neither do I.

  2. Shomer – “Lord” is the translation of the Scriptural name “A-d-o-n-a-i” and “God” is the translation of “E-l-o-h-i-m” – both of these Scriptural names are used in Scripture for teh God of Israel as well as for other entities including pagan deities (with dfferent grammatical constructs) – the prohibition against mentioning thenames of other gods applies to the personal name of another god such as the last one you mentioned in your post

  3. Shomer says:

    Shalom UVrachà yourpharaseefriend
    Would you pray to Unkulunkulu? Unkulunkulu is the highest divinity in Zulu mythology. Of course you would never pray to this pagan divinity – right? And exactly this word you find in Zulu Bibles for Elohim. Likewise God/Theos is such a pagan expression. I would never pray to him any more. If you only knew the paganism behind this Christian “god/theos”, you would rebuke “god” and rather choose ELOHIM YHVH. According to information available to me, “God” is the name of an ancient Babylonian divinity of fortune. – Jeroboam had built two altars with golden calves and called them “Elohim, that brought you out of Mitzraim”. Between this fact and your answer I unfortunately cannot see a difference.

    You obviously decided for a pagan expression instead “ELOHIM YHVH” – may-be you will succeed. But when I read Torah, I can see the so-called success that was promised by Moshe in case you behave accordingly. God, Theos, Allah, YHVH, Unkulunkulu – are they really all the same “God”? It even hurts me when I mention HaShem amongst the other divinities. I still wait for habrit hachadasha when ….

    Jer 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know YHVH: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith YHVH: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

    There is a vast difference between a LORD and AVINU! In this case it is better not to behave according to Christian tradition nor to a Jewish one. Moshe had given us a Shem in order to sactify HIM. Moshe forbade to abuse HIM and to ignore HIM is one way of abuse, too.

    I hope you understand what I had mean and you know how to put it in action.

    Shabbat Shalom
    Shomer

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