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    Who are we talking to? – Va’et’channan

    The Shema appears in this week’s reading. It proclaims God – but to whom is it addressed?

    It could have been a call to the nations of the world, but in fact it is a call to the Jewish people. It says “Hear, O Israel!” – not, “Listen, O world!”

    Does this mean that we are selfish and don’t care about mankind as a whole?

    At the end of Alenu we strike the universalistic note, “On that day shall the Lord be (acknowledged as) One and His Name One” (Zech. 14:9).

    In order to bring about the day when the whole world will acknowledge God, the Jewish people must take upon themselves the task of acclaiming and obeying Him.

    Only then will the world take notice and join in worshipping the God of Israel.

    In other words, to make the world Godly, Israel must point the way and show an example.

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