Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hear, O Israel (Part 2)

Today's prayer is dedicated to the children of Pleven, by Susanna's request.

Deuteronomy 6:4:

ד  שְׁמַע, יִשְׂרָאֵל:  יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, יְהוָה אֶחָד. 4 Hear, O Israel: the LORD our G*d, the LORD is one.
I discussed this at length a few days ago, but this goes on.  (You probably guessed that from the "Part 1" hint....)

ה  וְאָהַבְתָּ, אֵת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁךָ, וּבְכָל-מְאֹדֶךָ. 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy G*d with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
ו  וְהָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם--עַל-לְבָבֶךָ. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart;
ז  וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ, וְדִבַּרְתָּ בָּם, בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ בַדֶּרֶךְ, וּבְשָׁכְבְּךָ וּבְקוּמֶךָ. 7 and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
ח  וּקְשַׁרְתָּם לְאוֹת, עַל-יָדֶךָ; וְהָיוּ לְטֹטָפֹת, בֵּין עֵינֶיךָ. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes.
ט  וּכְתַבְתָּם עַל-מְזֻזוֹת בֵּיתֶךָ, וּבִשְׁעָרֶיךָ.  {ס} 9 And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates. 

What does it mean to love G*d with all your heart, and all your soul and all your might?

You love G*d with all your heart when it's easy.  It is pleasant to celebrate holidays and sacraments with your community of faith.  It is easy to praise G*d when things are going well and you are feeling genuinely grateful.

You love G*d with all your soul when it's hard.  When someone falls ill or dies, or when the prayers don't seem to flow naturally but you do them anyway.

You love G*d with all your might when you are actually required to do something about it.  This is what Christians speak of as works vs. faith.  Or what Americans call putting your money where your mouth is.  Walking the walk, not just talking the talk.  Yes, we can advocate and pray, but can we act? 

These words, which I (G*d) command you (personally) today (not in the distant past, but right now!), shall be upon your heart, but also in evidence in every action you take throughout the day.  They shall guide your actions (thy hand) and your worldview (thine eyes). And you shall declare your commitment publicly -- the whole Light Unto the Nations business -- upon thy gates.

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