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Thought for the Day: Kavana for K'rias Sh'ma

I think we finally have all the pieces to appreciate what we are saying during our declaration of Sh'ma Yisrael morning and evening.

We are in d'varim, Moshe Rabeinu's final speech to Klal Yisrael.  Even though we posken "ein mukdam u'm'uchar b'torah" in the rest of chumash, in d'varim everyone agrees "yeish mukdam u'muchar" and so context is vital to understanding.  In d'varim 5, Moshe Rabeinu reiterates the aseres ha'dibros (which have encoded in them all the 613 mitzvos) and reminds the people that they had asked him to go up the mountain himself to get all the details.  He then continues (d'varim 6:1-3) by reminding Klal Yisrael of its collective purpose and obligation. (Speaking in second person plural.)

Pausing for dramatic effect and to ensure rapt attention, Moshe Rabeinu continues: [Remember Yaakov Avinu with his twelve sons -- the source of each of your tribes -- assembled to her the last of the patriarchs give final instructions.  Yaakov Avinu hesitated; has he succeeded in building a Klal Yisrael?  The sons sense their father's concern and declare -- in unison -- ] Shma Yisrael!  HaShem Elokeinu, HaShem Echad ["Our father and mentor, we are dedicated and united to bring knowledge of HaShem to the world."  And Yaakov Avinu is satisfied, but adds a reminder them that each must do his part.  There are 12 gates, and each of the Shivtei Kah must develop their individual strengths within the context of the greater klal], "Baruch Sheim Kavod Malchoso L'Olam Va'Ed!".

And therefore now, continues Moshe Rabeinu, each of you individually must dedicate yourself to bringing into the world that dimension of k'vod sha'mayim that only you can; "v'ahavta es HaShem Elokecha, b'chol l'vavcha, u'v'chol nafshecha,u'v'chol m'odecha" -- You (singular) shall love HaShem your (singular) G-d, with all of your (singular) heart/mind, with all of your (singular) soul, and with all of your (singular) spiritual and physical resources.

Twice a day, morning and evening, we relive that great moment and renew our dedication.


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