Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shema Israel. Pasuq 4. Declaring our love of God.

(1)And you shall teach (these words) to your children, and you shall speak of them (2) when you are sitting in your house and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.
In this pasuq the Tora commands us to express our love for God with our words and speech. 
In the first part of this pasuq (=verse) we learn about the duties of the parents to teach their children to love HaShem with all their heart, with all their soul and with all their might. Additionally, we are told, we must speak of our love for God and prove that it is real and that it influences our conduct at all times.   Our rabbis explained that the education process of our children always takes place as mimetic (imitative) experience. They said: When (or How) does it happen that we teach our children the love of God? At the time that we convey our love of God with our words.  Not when we preach to them about loving God, but when they see us practicing it: studying Tora, praying to Him and thanking Him for all we have.  

The second part of this pasuq teaches us that love of God is an integral part of our daily lives. We should not limit our prayers and words to Him just when we are in Synagogue. The pasuq emphasizes that we should express our love for Him when we are sitting at home, by ourselves or with our families in the privacy of our home, but also outside home, in the street, in front of others.  Our love for God should be the first thing we declare when we get up in the morning, and the last, when we go to sleep.

A good example of expressing our love for God constantly with our words, is when we say at all times (MEANING IT!) "barukh HaShem"= "Thanks God" , or "be'ezrat haShem" ="with God's help".

The SHEMA ISRAEL  by Rabbi Hayim Pereira-Mendes (1905)