DID YOU KNOW that the most well-known section of the Sh’mah prayer, recited in the synagogue at every morning and evening service, and often at bedtime, is taken from Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and declared by the Messiah to be the most important commandment of all [Mark 12:29-30]?
The Sh’mah: Sh’mah, Israel, YHVH Elohanu YHVH echad.
Hear, O Israel, YHVH Elohanu (our El), YHVH (is) one. And you shall love YHVH Elohekka with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
According to tradition, the last letter of the first word, and the last letter of the last word, are written in large script on the Torah scroll. The combined two letters spell ayd, meaning “witness.” The Sh’mah expresses the purpose of Israel’s existence: to serve as a witness to the primacy of YHVH as the one and only Master of the universe.
It is reported in the Talmud that when Rabbi Akiba was led away by Romans to be executed publicly for continuing to teach the Torah even after such activity was banned, his flesh was flayed with iron combs. As they watched him endure this pain with fortitude, Rabbi Akiba’s students shouted, “Enough! You have suffered enough!”
Rabbi Akiba responded, “All my life I have regretted that I have not been able to show my love for Elohim in the manner prescribed by the Torah, which commands that one should love YHVH with all his soul. Now that I have the opportunity, shall I not do so?” He then recited the Sh’mah until he expired.
Matthew 22:37-38, “And Y’hoshua said to him, ‘You shall love YHVH Elohekka with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [From Deuteronomy 6:5] This is the first and great commandment.’”
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that which (is) in the world: the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but (is) of the world.” [1 John 2:15-16]
“The (one) loving father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And the (one) loving son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” [Matthew 10:37]
Each of us must ask himself: What do I think about most often? My spouse, or children? My career? Automobile, or house? Sports? Entertainment? Or do I think most often about myself?
BUT HOW OFTEN DO I THINK ABOUT THE EL OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB, AND HIS ANOINTED, Y’HOSHUA? HOW FREQUENTLY DO I STUDY HIS WORD? FOR WHERE MY THOUGHTS LINGER MOST OFTEN, THERE YOU WILL SURELY FIND WHAT, OR WHO, I WORSHIP.