Friday, August 3, 2012

Va'eschanan - The Mitzva of Reciting the Shema

The Torah (Deuteronomy 6:7) tells us, "and you shall speak of them... when you lie down and when you get up." This is the mitzva of krias Shema - reciting the Shema. The essential idea of the Shema is kabbalas ol malchus Shamaim - accepting the yoke of the kingdom of Heaven, and the mitzva obligates us to do so twice a day at specific times , once in the morning and once at night.

The Noam HaMitzvos (R' Naftali Hertz, d.1912) explains (Mitzva 420) that the obligation to recite the Shema both by day and by night is intended to convey the message that commitment to the service of God and the observance of His commandments applies to us in all times and all circumstances. Whether in good times, symbolized by day, or bad times, symbolized by night, whether we are rich or poor, free or oppressed, we remain equally obligated to obey the commandments of God.

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