The Shema is undoubtedly the most well known prayer in all of Judaism. You might call the Shema our “national anthem,” since it so fully encapsulates essential principles of Judaism. It is the first Jewish concept a child learns and the last words a person expresses on his deathbed. When we recite the Shema, we declare our acceptance of God as our Creator and King and our recognition that He directly rules over the world and watches over us.
Two Morasha shiurim address the Shema. In this first class we will explain the basic components of the text of the Shema. We refer here not only to the first and most famous line of the Shema, but also to all three paragraphs that are recited as a unit in the mitzvah of Kriat Shema – reciting the prayer. The second class explores when and how to say Shema, with particular emphasis on the importance of concentrating on the meaning of the words. The class also addresses why the mitzvot of mezuzah and tefillin contain the Shema written on parchments.