Sh’ma and V’ahavta
In the Sh’ma and V’ahavta, we are reminded of the oneness of God and the unity of God’s creation. As we are all equal in the eyes of God, so do we have a responsibility to treat all human beings as images of the Divine. The V’ahavta is a call to action; we must not only remember God’s mitzvot, but we must teach them to future generations. The essence of Torah is the vision of a just society. How must we live in order to realize this vision and teach it to our children? The following prayers and readings are appropriate for this time in the service.
For Judaism gave mankind its first civil rights program. It was expressed in the Sh’ma, the watchword of the Jewish faith: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” As God is one, mankind is one, for each is created equally in the image of God.
-Rabbi Maurice N. Eisendrath
RAC L’taken seminar, Shabbat evening service
We need to listen to the voice of the One we proclaim to love. When we allow ourselves to hear the Divine Voice, then God’s commandments are awakened in us and the sensation that is freedom opens our eyes and, where freedom commences, history begins!
A difficult task was assigned our people as we lived our history; it is so easy to listen to the voices of the idols found in each generation, and it is so hard for us to hear the voice of God.
It is so easy to remain a slave and it is so difficult to become free. We can only fully exist when we take God’s challenge seriously.
We can only exist when, in tasting freedom, we reach out to free all of the others who are still slaves.
- RAC L’taken seminar weekday service