“Shema” is the Hebrew word for “hear, listen, obey”. This is the first word of Deut 6:4, the most recited passage of Scripture, at least from the Jewish perspective. If you are Jewish, the Shema is the first thing you say when you get up in the morning, and last thing you say when you go to bed at night. It is the first thing you want to teach your children as they learn to talk. And if at all possible, it is to be the last thing you say before your death. The Shema will be a theme of our trip – verses that we will recite together every day.
The specific passages include Deut 6:4-5 and Lev 19:18. Yeshua also emphasized the importance of the Shema in his teachings, as quoted in Mark 12:29-31. In preparation for the trip, please memorize the Shema, in both Hebrew and English, as shown in the adjacent box. If you want some help with the Hebrew pronunciation, you can download the recordings below.
A note regarding the personal name of God: I realize there are many opinions regarding whether or not to say the personal name of God, and if we say it, how we should pronounce it. His name in Hebrew is written as YHWH, and usually translated as “the LORD” in our English Bibles. We can talk more about this on the trip, but as I read Scripture, I think it is clear that our Father wants us to use his personal name, if done with reverence and respect. And while no one knows for sure the correct pronunciation, it seems we should do our best to try. The two most common views are that YHWH is pronounced either as Yahweh or Yahuah. As a result of my study of names and their usage in Scriptures, I tend to lean more toward Yahuah as the most likely pronunciation of His name. For that reason, when we recite the Shema together on this trip, we will use Yahuah as the pronunciation of YHWH, both in Hebrew and English. The recordings below reflect this pronunciation.
Shema in Hebrew
Shema in English
Memorize the Shema:
Shəma Yisra’el, YHWH Eloheynu – YHWH ekhad. Və’ahavta et YHWH Eloheykha bəkhol ləvavkha, uvəkhol nafshekha, uvəkhol mə’odekha. Və’ahavta ləre’akha kamokha.
Hear O Israel, YHWH is our God – YHWH alone. Love YHWH your God With all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And love your neighbor as yourself.