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    Changed but the same – Ekev

    Last week our Torah reading contained the first paragraph of the Shema. This week we find the second paragraph.

    The first paragraph puts studying and teaching the commandments before laying tefillin; the second paragraph puts tefillin first.

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe suggests that first we perceive the duty of the individual whilst the second time we are speaking of the community.

    There are two dimensions in a person’s spiritual life. In the first case the individual exerts him- or herself to reach God by means of personal thought; in the second the community has a religious practice which is a mark of group identity, and people should not carry it out routinely but delve into the mitzvah and find its message.

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