The Shema – Unification of Hashem

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    • Michal 1 year ago

      The Rambam cites the directive to unify Hashem as the second Mitzvah in his work, Mishnah Torah[1].

      How do we unify Him?

      Rashi presents an explanation on the words, הּ אֱלֹקֵינוּ, הּ אֶחָד, Hashem is our Empowerer, Hashem is a Unity that leads to more questions and perhaps is providing us with some hints as to what is entailed in this Mitzvah[2].

      Rashi says these words to mean:

      • Hashem is our Empowerer NOW.
      • He is not the Lord of the nations.
      • He is (asid) to be Hashem, Unified.

      He then offers two sources to these concepts in Tzefania and Zecharia[3].

      My Questions:

      Why does Rashi need to say Hashem is our Empowerer עַתָּה NOW?  Is that not seemingly obvious?  What is he teaching us with the word, עַתָּה, and how can one use this idea to fulfill the mitzvah of unifying Him?

      Why is Rashi focusing on the fact that He is not the Lord of the nations?  Why is this concept necessary in the unification of His name?

      Why does Rashi introduce this concept of “Asid” and that Hashem’s name WILL be unified. If He is going to be unified anyway, what is the mitzvah?

      What is Asid?

      What does it mean that Hashem will be unified?  How does this part relate to the mitzvah of unifying Him?

      The Malbim describes this state of “asid” as a state that occurs through the war of Gog and Magog. All will recognize Hashem as One, all will abandon their idols, and will now have clarity in their speech, without being confused by ideas of Divinity that are truthfully nothingness that were previously mixed in their language. All will serve Hashem according to Torah.

      If it is our Mitzvah to unify Hashem now, and we say The Shema daily, how do we fulfill this Mitzvah now if part of what we are saying seems to pertain to something in the future, and actually happens through this war of Gog and Magog which triggers the clarity of Hashem’s unity?

      I think that perhaps part of this mitzvah of unifying Him, is to be people that find ways to unify Him in all we do now.

      When I can  confront myself and ask, am I serving Hashem singularly?  Am I bringing Hashem’s Hashgacha in my life?  Or am I chas V’shalom mixing in a limited thought in my service?

      I think that it requires me to learn and study Torah, to study the words of Chazal to have my thoughts clear, until they become words that unify Hashem clearly. I then need to make sure that it is my expression in all I do.

      Perhaps this mitzvah is pointing me to my ability to choose, in order to be somebody who accepts Ol Malchus Shamayim truthfully . The struggle, the confrontation is necessary to make a real choice. When I confront myself, maybe that is my own war of Gog and Magog that I need to have true recognition of My Creator as being Hashem, The Source of all Powers.

      I think about certain people who have successfully confronted us with the choice to make, such as Rav Noach Weinberg, z’’tzl on a huge scale…

      I think this concept must therefore be both applied as an individual , and then as a nation until all recognize Hashem as One, and all serve Hashem according to the Torah of Hashem as taught by Moshe Rabeinu.

      Perhaps when we say The Shema, we must pray for such a reality as our first powerful effort to Unify Hashem Biezraso.




      [1] לְיַחֲדוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר: “הּ אֱלֹקֵינוּ, הּ אֶחָד”

      [2] ה’ אלהינו ה’ אחד. ה’ שֶׁהוּא אֱלֹקֵינוּ עַתָּה, וְלֹא אֱלֹקֵי הָאֻמּוֹת, הוּא עָתִיד לִהְיוֹת ה’ אֶחָד, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (צפניה ג’) כִּי אָז אֶהְפֹּךְ אֶל עַמִּים שָׂפָה בְרוּרָה לִקְרֹא כֻלָּם בְּשֵׁם ה’, וְנֶאֱמַר (זכריה י”ד) בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִהְיֶה ה’ אֶחָד וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד (ע’ ספרי)

      [3] (צפניה ג’) כִּי אָז אֶהְפֹּךְ אֶל עַמִּים שָׂפָה בְרוּרָה לִקְרֹא כֻלָּם בְּשֵׁם ה’, וְנֶאֱמַר (זכריה י”ד) בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִהְיֶה ה’ אֶחָד וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד (ע’ ספרי)

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