Recite the Shema twice daily

The Literal Commandment

"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

 

The literal commandment is that we should speak the words of this passage when we lie down and when we rise up.

"Shema" is the Hebrew word that begins verse 4: "Shema, Israel!"
Shema means to listen and obey. Since the word shema begins this passage, the words of these verses are called "The Shema".

 

Messiah Says

Messiah explicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?"

Jesus answered, "The foremost is, '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 MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' (Mark 12:28-30)

 

"The greatest commandment" is not the recitation of a prayer but loving G-d with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The Shema prayer reminds us that we should be doing this. Find out What Scripture Says About the Greatest Commandment.

 

Pictures of Messiah

This commandment does say that we should speak the words of the Shema prayer "when we lie down and when we rise up". It also says that we should speak these words when we "sit in our house and when [we] walk by the way" (verse 7). These words are to be a constant reminder of two things:

  • G-d is one.
  • We should love G-d with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our might.

 

These reminders continually point us to Messiah. Wherever Messiah went and whatever He was doing, He was always aware of the presence and unity of G-d and expressed His love for the Father with all His heart, all His soul, and all His might by living in obedience to the One who sent Him.

We are to do so as well and the recitation of the Shema provides a twice-daily reminder.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled this commandment by reciting the Shema twice daily.

 

Traditional Observance

Reciting the words of Deuteronomy 6 is how this commandment is traditionally observed. Certain prayers are recited beforehand to bless and thank G-d for the commandment of the Shema. The words of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 13-21 are recited, then Numbers 15:38-41, concluding with another traditional blessing for G-d.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and receive the blessing and encouragement of reciting the Shema twice daily.

 

The recitation of G-d's words from Scripture is always a source of blessing. G-d Himself declares:

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 76
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 2
  • Mishneh Torah Book Love
  • Mishneh Torah Category 6- Reciting the Shema
  • Reference Deuteronomy 6:7
  • Scripture Book Deuteronomy
  • Chapter 6
  • Verse 7
  • English You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
  • Hebrew ז וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ, וְדִבַּרְתָּ בָּם, בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ בַדֶּרֶךְ, וּבְשָׁכְבְּךָ וּבְקוּמֶךָ.
  • Greek 7 καὶ προβιβάσεις αὐτὰ τοὺς υἱούς σου καὶ λαλήσεις ἐν αὐτοῖς καθήμενος ἐν οἴκῳ καὶ πορευόμενος ἐν ὁδῷ καὶ κοιταζόμενος καὶ διανιστάμενος·
  • Parashah 45- Va'etchanan
  • Positive/Negative Positive
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 420
  • Sef. Hach. Command The mitzvah of reciting the Sh'ma every morning and evening
  • Category Prayer and Confession
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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