The Shema

The central prayer of Israel was the daily Shema. "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart: and you shall teach them diligently unto your children." The Hebrew version of the Shema is as follows: "Shema Yisraeil ; Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad! Baruch sheim kevod maichuto leolam vaed!" Every Israelite learned this Shema by repeating it after his parents at home and by constant reminders. The Sabbath service began with the reading of the Shema which consisted of three passages of Scripture. The first was passage above, the Lord is one Lord, etc., the second passage was Deut 11.13-21: "And it shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul. That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your corn and your wine and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your cattle that you may eat and be full. Take heed to yourselves that your heart be not deceived and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; and then the Lord's wrath be kindled against you and He shut up the heaven, that there be no rain and that the land yeild not her fruit and lest you perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord gives you. Therefore shall you lay up these words in your heart and in your soul and bind them for a sign unto your hand, that they may be as fronlets between your eyes. And you shall teach them your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall write them upon the door posts of your house and upon your gates. That your days may be multiplied and the days of your children in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth."

The third was Numbers 15:37-41: "And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue. And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that you may look upon it and remeber all the commandments of the Lord, and do them, and that you seek not after your own hear and your own eyes after which you use to go a-whoring: That you may remeber and do all my commandments and be holy unto yur God. I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be yur God; I am the Lord your God."
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