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    Listen & perceive – Va’et’channan

    A significant feature of this week’s reading is the Shema, the command to Israel (Deut. 6:4) to listen to the announcement that “HaShem is our God, our unique God”.

    This is not the only place in the Torah where we are told, “Listen, Israel!” Chapter 9 of D’varim is another example. The people are told to listen to the proclamation that when they cross the Jordan God will be with them and grant them victory over the local tribes.

    Why are they being told to listen, and how can so many people hear without artificial amplification?

    They are being commanded to listen with their ears and perceive with their minds.

    Ramban explains that if they grasp and understand the message they will discover that no achievement is possible without God’s support.

    In the Shema they receive a similar message, though this time it is not about military victory but spiritual progress.

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