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    Rambam explains the Shema – Va’et’channan

    shema-e1322485239744Because the Shema derives from this week’s sidra, let us look at how the Rambam (Maimonides) explained some of its major phrases.

    “Hear O Israel” – “Hear what our Father Israel (Jacob) taught about God.”

    “The Lord is One” – “His oneness is not as one of a pair, a species or a conglomerate. He is One like no other ‘one’ whatsoever.”

    “Love the Lord your God” – “When you contemplate His works and wisdom it leads to love and praise of God.”

    “With all your heart, soul and might” – “With all parts of your heart, soul and might; the Book of Proverbs says, ‘In all your ways know Him’.”

    “Teach them thoroughly to your children” – “’Children’ means ‘pupils’; teach all who wish to learn even if they are not your own children.”

    “Bind them for a sign…and make them frontlets” – “He who cannot carry out both commands should carry out whichever one is possible.”

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