Judaism’s Great Prayer: Hear, O Israel (Sh’ma Yisrael)

Blue Sky Clouds and the Sun

One cannot overestimate the importance Sh’ma Yisrael (Hear, O Israel ) has in Jewish heritage throughout the generations. In many cases, these were the only “Jewish words” that Jews, who lived in remote places and who heard them from their ancestors, knew. The “marranos” in Spain and Portugal passed them on from parent to child, sometimes without knowing, their actual meaning but with profound understanding of their value. Many Jews, beginning with Rabbi Akivah and up to the victims of the Holocaust recited the Sh’ma with their last breath.

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