Much of the information below comes from Wikipedia. Much comes from our own learning.
Shema Yisrael (or Sh'ma Yisrael) (Hebrew: שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל; "Hear, [O] Israel") are the first two words of a section of the Torah, and are also the title (sometimes shortened to simply "Shema") of a prayer that serves as a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services. The first verse encapsulates the monotheistic essence of Judaism: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD is our God, the LORD is one," found in Deuteronomy 6:4. Observant Jews consider the Shema to be the most important part of the prayer service in Judaism, and its twice-daily recitation as a mitzvah (religious commandment). It is traditional for Jews to say the Shema as their last words, and for parents to teach their children to say it before they go to sleep at night.
Actually, the most important part of the Prayer Service is called the Amidah or Standing Prayer. Today the Shema is referred to as the "watchword of our faith." It is extremely important to Jews both within and outside of the prayer service.
The term "Shema" is used by extension to refer to the whole part of the daily prayers that commence with Shema Yisrael and comprise Deuteronomy 6:4–9, 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37–41. These sections of the Torah are read in the weekly Torah portions Va'etchanan, Eikev, and Shlach, respectively.
Reading the above paragraph one will think that the Shema consists of three parts. Actually the Shema consists of 5 parts. They are identified below. These 5 relate to the metaphor of the 4 Letter Name of HaShem called the Tetragrammaton.
Originally, the Shema consisted of only one verse: Deuteronomy 6:4 (see Talmud Sukkah 42a and Berachot 13b). The recitation of the Shema in the liturgy, however, consists of three portions: Deuteronomy 6:4–9, 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37–41. The three portions relate to central issues of Jewish belief.
Additionally, the Talmud points out that subtle references to the Ten Commandments can be found in the three portions. As the Ten Commandments were removed from daily prayer in the Mishnaic period (70-200 CE), the Shema is seen as an opportunity to commemorate the Ten Commandments.
There are two larger-print letters in the first sentence (Ayin ע and Daleth ד) which, when combined, spell "עד". In Hebrew this means "witness." The idea thus conveyed is that through the recitation or proclamation of the Shema one is a living witness testifying to the truth of its message.
Modern Kabbalistic schools, namely that of the Ari, teach that when one recites the last letter of the word "'ecḥad'" (אחד), meaning "one," he or she is to intend that he is ready to "die into God." See below for the Kavenah involved in this concept.
Historically the Shema replaces the daily saying of the Esser Debrot (Ten Utterances corrupted into and referred to as the Ten Commandments). This was done by the sages of the time to separate from what was becoming the Christian Faith.
The first pivotal words of the Shema are: Hebrew: :שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יהוה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יהוה אֶחָד - Sh'ma Yisra'el YHWH Eloheinu YHWH Eḥad.
Rabbinic Judaism teaches that the Tetragrammaton (י-ה-ו-ה), YHWH, is the ineffable and actual name of God, and as such is not read aloud in the Shema but is traditionally replaced with אדני, Adonai ("Lord"). For this reason, the Shema is recited aloud as: Sh'ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Eḥad - Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One
The literal word meanings are roughly as follows:
Sh'ma — listen, or hear & do (according to the Targum, accept)
Yisrael — Israel, in the sense of the people or congregation of Israel, nation of Israel
Adonai — often translated as "LORD", it is read in place of YHWH; Samaritans say Shema, which is Aramaic for "the [Divine] Name" and is the exact equivalent of the Hebrew "ha-Shem", which Rabbinic Jews substitute for "Adonai" in a non-liturgical context such as everyday speech
Eloheinu — the plural 1st person possessive of אֱלֹהִים Elohim, meaning “our God”
Eḥad — the cardinal number one
Another possibility is the Samaritan reading:
Sh'ma Yisrael Shema Eloheinu Shema Eḥad. (Hear, O Israel, the Name is our God, the Name is One.)
(The Samaritan Sect is not considered Jewish by the Rabbis. This is because at the time of Seneriv he uprooted whole populations and resettled them into a different parts of his kingdom to keep them from rebelling. The Samaritans adopted the teaching of the Hebrews since it was the "God" of the Land. They have a Torah that is different in 6000 locations from the Masoretic Text Scroll.)
The connective "is" is implied rather than stated as it would be in modern English.
This first verse of the Shema relates to the kingship of God. The first verse, "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord," has ever been regarded as the confession of belief in the One God. Due to the ambiguities of the Hebrew language there are multiple ways of translating the Shema:
"Hear, O Israel! Adonai is our God! Adonai is One!" is one translation.
"Hear, O Israel! Adonai is our God – Adonai alone." is another.
If one ignores the trope marks from the Masoretic Text one may say the Shema in a corrupted manner that translates as Hear, Israel is God. Our God also is HaShem
Please be careful with your thoughts when you say this verse as it will impact your life. See the kavenah below.
Many commentaries have been written about the subtle differences between the translations. There is an emphasis on the oneness of God and on the sole worship of God by Israel. There are other translations, though most retain one or the other emphases.
ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד - "Blessed be the name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever.”
The second line is a rabbinic addition and is recited silently during congregational worship (except on Yom Kippur). It was originally a liturgical response in use in the Temple when the name of God was pronounced and took the form of "Baruch shem k’vodo l’olam", "Blessed be His glorious name" (Psalm 72:19). However, in time the words, "malchuto" ("His kingdom") and "va’ed" ("for ever and ever") were added. "Malchuto" was introduced by the rabbis during Roman rule as a counter to the claim of divine honors by Roman emperors. "Va’ed" was introduced at the time of the Second Temple to contrast the view of the "minim" (sectarians) that there is no life after death.
The Kabbalists indicate/teach that the First line Shema Israel relates to drawing the Light of God and the second line grounds any excess energy that the individual may not be able to handle. This makes sure that this additional Light does not create any chaos in the life of the individual saying the verse or for the world at large. This is a good Kavenah to have when one starts the Shema.
This is usually called the First Paragraph of the Shema. This is because of the Metaphoric comparison of the Shema to the 4 Letter Name of HaShem. The Shema and Baruch Shem are considered the tip of the Yood or the Keter. This First Paragraph consisting of Deuteronomy Chapter 6 Verses 5 to 9 is considered the Yood of the 4 Letter Name as well as the Sefirah of Chochmah.
The following verses, commonly referred to by the first word of the verse immediately following the Shema as the V'ahavta, or in Classical Hebrew W'ahav'ta meaning "And you shall love...", contain the commands to love God (the Talmud emphasizes that you will, at some point, whether you choose to or not therefore "shall" future tense, love God), with all one's heart, soul, and might; then the verse goes on to remind you to remember all commandments and "teach them diligently to your children and speak of them when you sit down and when you walk, when you lie down and when you rise" (Deut 6:7); to recite the words of God when retiring or rising; to bind those words "on thy arm and thy head" (classically Jewish oral tradition interprets as tefillin), and to inscribe them on the door-posts of your house and on your gates (referring to mezuzah).
V'haya im shamoa
This section is confused by almost all people except the students of Kabbalah. It is actually two sections Deuteronomy chapter 6 verses 13-18 and 19-21. They appear in the Torah as one section yet when one counts the words (see below) one will realize that they are actually two sections. This is what the Kabbalists teach. This first part relates to the first Hey in the Tetragrammaton
The passage following the "Shema" and "V'ahavta" relates to the issue of reward and punishment. It contains the promise of reward for serving God with all one's heart, soul, and might (Deut 11:13) and for the fulfillment of the laws. It also contains punishment for transgression.
This second part of Deuteronomy Chapter 11 relates to the Vav of the Tetragrammaton. It also contains a repetition of the contents of the first portion -but this time spoken to the second person plural. (Whereas the first portion is directed to the individual Jew, this time it is directed to the whole community, all the Jews).
The third portion, which is actually the fourth section of the Shema, relates to the issue of redemption. Specifically, it contains the law concerning the tzitzit as a reminder that all laws of God are obeyed, as a warning against following evil inclinations and in remembrance of the exodus from Egypt. For the prophets and rabbis, the exodus from Egypt is paradigmatic of Jewish faith that God redeems from all forms of foreign domination. It can be found in the portion "Shlach Lecha" in the book of Numbers.
This fourth section relates to the Lower Hey of the Tetragrammaton
In summary, the content flows from the assertion of the oneness of God's kingship. Thus, in the first portion, there is a command to love God with all one's heart, soul and might and to remember and teach these very important words to the children throughout the day. Obeying these commands, says the second portion, will lead to rewards, and disobeying them will lead to punishment. Then there is a repeat of the first section in the second person so that it applies to the Nation as well as the individual. To ensure fulfillment of these key commands, God also commands in the third portion a practical reminder, wearing the tzitzit, "that ye may remember and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God."
The second line quoted, "Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever," was originally a congregational response to the declaration of the Oneness of God. It is therefore often printed in small font and recited in an undertone, as recognition that it is not, itself, a part of the cited Biblical verses. The third section of the Shema formally ends at Numbers 15:41, but in fact traditionally Jews end the recitation of the Shema with the following word from the next verse, Emet, or "Truth", as the end of the prayer.
When reciting the Shema there are different Minhagim or customs. There are also different Halachot that apply to the recitation or the singing of the Shema. Here are some of the Halachot and Minhagim.
The Hebrew Bible states that "these words" be spoken of "when you lie down, and when you rise up" Deuteronomy 6:7. The first book of the Talmud, tractate Brachot, opens with a discussion of when exactly the Shema needs to be recited. The Mishna connects the time of recitation with details of the rhythm of the life of the Temple in Jerusalem, saying that the Shema should be recited in the evening when the Kohanim (Jewish priests) who were Tamei (ritually impure) (and had been unable to serve) enter to eat their Terumah (heave offerings). The Gemara contains a wide-ranging discussion of exactly when this occurred, with general agreement that it occurred in the evening, either after sunset or after three stars were visible. A similar discussion describes the morning Shema, which can be recited at first light prior to sunrise, as soon as colors can be discerned.
The Shema does not have to be recited in Hebrew. It may be recited in any language the worshipper understands (Berakhot 2:3). However, it is an almost universal custom among observant Jews to recite it in Hebrew. It is almost a universal custom among all Jews to recite the first two lines in Hebrew.
In Orthodox and Conservative Judaism, the Shema should be recited twice daily, whether or not one is able to attend services with a congregation. The recitation should be performed in a suitable place that expresses reverence.
The Shema, or as much of the first verse of it as can be said under the circumstances, is traditionally recited by a dying person as part of an affirmation of faith upon death. It is also recited near the end of Ne'ila service on Yom Kippur.
In Orthodox Judaism, women are not required to recite the Shema (as a command from the Torah), as with other time-bound requirements which might impinge on their traditional family obligations, although they are obligated to pray at least once daily without a specific liturgy requirement and many discharge that obligation through prayers like the Shema.
However, the practice among all Jews—women, men, and children—is to recite it. The Mishnah suggests that the time for recitation should not be more than 3rd hour, but if it is after that time, it should still be read, since it contains expressions of the unity of God and belief in a Creator etc.
It is incumbent to teach children to recite the first verse, and subsequent paragraphs as soon as they are able to understand its meaning. Women are not time bound in its recitation and therefore are not required to say it within its halachic time.
Rabbi Ephraim Greenblatt approvingly cites the Rashba, who holds that the last set of Blessings are on the Shema, based on the rulings of Maimonides.
Conservative Judaism generally regards Jewish women as being obligated to recite the Shema at the same times as men. Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism do not regard gender-related traditional Jewish ritual requirements, including obligations for men but not women to pray specific prayers at specific times, as necessary in modern circumstances; instead, both genders may fulfill all of the requirements.
The Benedictions preceding and following the Shema are traditionally credited to the members of the Great Assembly (men who wrote the Talmud). They were first instituted in the liturgy of the Temple in Jerusalem. According to the Talmud, the reading of the Shema morning and evening fulfils the commandment, "You shall meditate therein day and night." As soon as a child begins to speak, his father is directed to teach him the verse, "Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob" (Deut. 33:4), and teach him to read the Shema (Talmud, Sukkah 42a). The reciting of the first verse of the Shema is called "the acceptance of the yoke of the kingship of God" (kabalat ol malchut shamayim) (Mishnah Berachot 2:5).
Judah ha-Nasi (known as The Prince), who spent all day involved with his studies and teaching, said just the first verse of the Shema in the morning (Talmud Berachot 13b) "as he passed his hands over his eyes" which appears to be the origin of the Jewish custom to cover the eyes with the right hand whilst reciting the first verse. This custom is explained in Kabbalah as reflecting the teaching "Do not look at the Shechina.
In Kabbalah we adjust this teaching to reflect the verse from Psalms, "Always keep the Name of God in front of me." What is taught is to cover the eyes with the right arm forming the Name Shadai is Hebrew. The three fingers on the forehead forms a Shin. The thumb is bent and appears to be a Dalet and is put on the right eye. the tip of the little finger is the Yood on the left eye.
The first verse of the Shema is recited aloud, simultaneously by the chazzan and the congregation, which responds with the rabbinically instituted Baruch Shem ("Blessed be the Name") in silence before continuing the rest of the Shema. Only on Yom Kippur is this response said aloud. The remainder of the Shema is read in silence. Sephardim recite the whole of the Shema aloud, except the Baruch Shem. Reform Jews also recite the whole of the first paragraph of the Shema aloud (the V'ahavta paragraph).
During Shacharit, there are two blessing before the Shema and one thereafter. These numbers, two before and one after, are based on the Mishnah Tractate Brachos, Chapter 11, which states: "In the morning one blesses two before and one after," though there is a question in Jewish law as to whether one recites these blessing on the Shema, or surrounding the Shema. The conclusion that has been drawn is that they are to be a blessing surrounding the Shema, because the structure is similar to that of blessings of the Torah, and there is doubt as to whether such blessings would actually enhance the Shema.
The two blessings that are recited before the Shema are Yotzer ohr and Ahava Rabbah. The blessing after is known as Emet Vayatziv. I am not going into the meaning and depth of these Blessings at this time.
During Maariv, there are two blessings before the Shema and three after. The two before are HaMaariv Aravim and Ahavat Olam. The three after are Emet V'Emunah, Hashkiveinu, and Baruch Hashem L'Olam, though the latter is not recited on Shabbat or Yom Tov.
Before going to sleep, the first paragraph of the Shema is recited. This is not only a commandment directly given in the Bible (in Deuteronomy 6:6–7), but is also alluded to from verses such as "Commune with your own heart upon your bed" (Psalms 4:4).
Some also have the custom to read all three paragraphs, along with a whole list of sections from Psalms, Tachanun, and other prayers. Altogether this is known as the K'riat Shema she-al ha-mitah. According to Arizal, reading this prayer with great concentration is also effective in cleansing one from sin. This Night Time Shema structure is composed of 10 steps relating to the 10 Sefirot. This is also discussed in the Tanya.
The exhortation by the Kohen ("priest") in calling Israel to arms against an enemy (which does not apply when the Temple in Jerusalem is not standing) also includes Shema Yisrael. (Deuteronomy 20:3; Talmud Sotah 42a).
Rabbi Akiva patiently endured while his flesh was being torn with iron combs, and died reciting the Shema. He pronounced the last word of the sentence, Eḥad ("one") with his last breath (Talmud Berachot 61b). Since then, it has been traditional for Jews to say the Shema as their last words.
Roi Klein (d. 2006), a major in the IDF, said the Shema before jumping on a live grenade to save his fellow soldiers, in accordance with the traditional Jewish practice of reciting the Shema when one believes one is going to die.
Arnold Schoenberg used it as part of the story to his narrative orchestral work 'A Survivor from Warsaw' (1947).
In Parade, a musical based on true events, the main character Leo Frank, wrongly accused of the murder of a child worker at the pencil factory he manages, recites the Shema Yisrael as a vigilante gang kidnap and hang him in the final scenes of the work.
Pop versions have been published by Mordechai ben David and Sarit Hadad.
In the movie Pi, Max Cohen and Lenny Meyer can be seen reciting the first three verses of the Shema. In The Shoes of the Fisherman, Anthony Quinn, as Pope Kiril, explores the back streets of Rome disguised as a simple priest, and recites the Shema at the bedside of a dying Jew.
Matisyahu, a pop singer, recites the Shema in his songs 'Got no water' and 'Tel Aviv'n'.
Yaakov Shwekey in his "Shema Yisrael," used the story of Rabbi Eliezer Silver's saving Jewish children hidden in Christian monasteries following the Holocaust by reciting the first line of the Shema. He would go into orphanages after the war and recite the first line of the Shema and those children that had come from Jewish homes would remember their parents saying the words to them. This was how many Jewish children were returned to their roots after the war.
Justin Bieber says the Shema before each public performance with his manager Scooter Braun who is also Jewish.
Schneur Zalman of Liadi articulated Divine Unity in Hasidic Philosophy
The second section of the Hasidic text in the Tanya, by Schneur Zalman of Liadi (Shaar Hayichud Vehaemunah-Gate of Unity and Faith), brings the mystical Panentheism of the founder of Hasidism, the Baal Shem Tov, into philosophical explanation. It explains the Hasidic interpretation of God's Unity in the first two lines of the Shema, based upon their interpretation in Kabbalah. The emphasis on Divine Omnipresence and immanence lies behind Hasidic joy and dveikut (cleaving to God), and its stress on transforming the material into spiritual worship. In this internalization of Kabbalistic ideas, the Hasidic follower seeks to reveal the Unity and hidden holiness in all activities of life.
Medieval, rationalist Jewish philosophers (exponents of "Hakirah"-rational "investigation" from first principles in support of Judaism), such as Maimonides, describe Biblical Monotheism to mean that there is only one God, and His essence is a unique, simple, infinite Unity. Jewish mysticism gives a deeper explanation, by distinguishing between God's essence and emanation. In Kabbalah and especially Hasidism, God's Unity means that there is nothing independent of His essence. The new doctrine in Lurianic Kabbalah of God's Tzimtzum ("Withdrawal"), received different interpretations after Isaac Luria, from the literal to the metaphorical. To Hasidism and Schneur Zalman, it is unthinkable for the "Withdrawal" of God that "makes possible" Creation, to be taken literally. Tzimtzum only relates to the Ohr Ein Sof ("Infinite Light"), not the Ein Sof (Divine essence) itself. God's true infinity is revealed in both complimentary infinitude (infinite light) and finitude (finite light). The "Withdrawal" was only a concealment of the Infinite Light into the essence of God, to allow the latent potentially finite light to emerge after the Tzimtzum. God Himself remains unaffected ("For I, the Lord, I have not changed" Malachi 3:6). His essence was One, alone, before Creation, and still One, alone, after Creation, without any change. As the Tzimtzum was only a concealment, therefore God's Unity is Omnipresent. In the Baal Shem Tov's new interpretation, Divine Providence affects every detail of Creation. The "movement of a leaf in the wind" is part of the unfolding Divine presence, and is a necessary part of the complete Tikune (Rectification in Kabbalah). This awarenes of the loving Divine purpose and significance of each individual, awakens mystical love and awe of God.
Schneur Zalman explains that God's Unity has two levels that are both paradoxically true. The main text of Kabbalah, the Zohar, describes the first verse of the Shema ("Hear Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is One") as the "Upper level Unity", and the second line ("Blessed be the Name of the Glory of His Kingdom forever") as the "Lower level Unity." Schneur Zalman gives the Hasidic explanation of this. In Kabbalah, all Creation is dependent on the immanent, potentially finite, "Light that Fills all Worlds", that each Creation receives continually. All is bittul-nullified to the light, even though in our realm this complete dependence is hidden. From this perspective, of God knowing the Creation on its own terms, Creation exists, but the true essence of anything is only the Divine spark that continuously recreates it from nothing. God is One, as nothing has any independent existence without this continual flow of Divine Will to Create. This is the Lower Level Unity.
In relation to God's essence, Creation affects no change or withdrawal. All Creation takes place "within" God. "There is nothing but God." The ability to create can only come from the infinite Divine essence, represented by the Tetragrammaton name of God. However, "It is not the essence of the Divine, to create Worlds and substain them," as this ability is only external to the Infinite essence. Creation only derives from God's revelatory "speech" (as in Genesis 1), and even this is unlike the external speech of Man, as it too remains "within" God. From this upper persective of God knowing Himself on His own terms, Creation does not exist, as it is as nothing in relation to God's essence. This Monistic Acosmism is the "Upper Level Unity," as from this persective, only God exists.
Shema is one of the sentences that is quoted in the New Testament. The Gospel of Mark 12:29-30 mentions that Jesus of Nazareth considered the beginning exhortation of the Shema to be the first of his two greatest commandments: "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." (KJV).
In addition, the apostle Paul reworks the Shema in 1 Corinthians 8:6 vis-à-vis the risen Christ: "But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." (KJV)
The Shema is one of the most powerful healing tools in the arsenal. This is do to the fact that there are 248 words that connect to the 248 parts of the body and the 248 sparks of the soul. The true power of the healing within the Shema is released when we meditate on the Names of others who need specific healing. Please say out loud the Names of people who need healing. Use their Hebrew name if you know it, then say the word Ben (son) or Bat (daughter) followed by the Mother's Name if you know it. If you do not know it you may use either Sarah, Rachel, or Chava. It is good to add the type of healing you think they need and also the phrase a Refuah Shalymah which means "a complete healing."
The first Verse of the Shema connects to the world of Zeir Anpin, which is a code word for the spiritual world. The seond verse which we usually say in a whisper connects to the physical world of Malchut. By saying these 12 words we are unifying the spiritual and physical which is necessary for complete healing.
Here is a kavenah for the saying of the first line of the Shema. It is from the website DailyZohar and is also from the teachings of Rabbi Ashlag Commentary of the Zohar called The Sulam).
The five supporting leaves of the Lily hold the inner thirteen into one root. The Zohar tells us that the first five words of the Shema Yisrael “שְׁמַע, יִשְׂרָאֵל: יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, יְהוָה” “Hear, O Israel: YHVH our God, YHVH” is the aspect of the five leaves and the five sefirot as we study earlier. The sixth word, “אֶחָד”, “is One”, is the root. Numerically 13 and it is the secret of the ‘ring’ of the King. Ring of the King is a code word for Malchut.
Rabbi Ashlag in his commentary explains that the five sefirot is testimony to the supernal unification of Zeir Anpin and Malchut. The five sefirot is the aspect of the vessel and the 13 attributes is the essence of the Light that fills the vessel.
Shema Yisrael “שְׁמַע, יִשְׂרָאֵל” is Netzach and Hod, “יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, יְהוָה” is Chesed, Gevurah and Tiferet. “One”, “אֶחָד” is the aspect of the unification of Malchut and Zeir Anpin. Their unification reveals the 13 attributes of Mercy and that is one reason why the numerical value of “One,” “אחד” is 13.
The first paragraph has 42 words and connects to the 42 letter Name of God known as the Ana Bekoach. As you say each word it is good to meditate on the letter of the 42 Letter Name in the appropriate order.
The second paragraph has 72 words and connects to the 72 Names of God. As you say each word it is good to visualize the triplex that apples to that word in the order of the Names.
The Third section has 50 words and we connect to the 4 letter Name connects to the 50 Gates of Binah. That is Aleph Hey Yood Hey. We do this meditation both letter by letter and Name by Name. The first 40 words are letter by letter. The last 10 words are Name by Name.These 50 Gates help us rise above the 50 Gates of negativity associated with the Tree of Death usually called the Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil.
The last paragraph has 72 Words and connect to the 72 Names from the Tzadikim. As you say each word it is good to visualize the triplex that applies to that word in the order of the Names.
Actually there are only 245 Words so the last three words are repeated. Here is the total as revealed by the count.
Shema = 6
Baruch Shem = 6
Vayahavta = 42
Vehayah Im Shemoah = 72
Vesamtem = 50
Vayomer = 69
Repeat the last three words usually by the Leader with the Congregation meditating that he is saying it for them. The last three words are HaShem Elohachem Emet. = 3
The total number of words are 6 + 6 +42 + 72 + 50 + 69 + 3 = 248.
In order to be a better channel for this healing energy as well as other aspects of Light that the Shema brings into the physical world it is good to accept upon yourself the Precept (Mitzvah) of Vayahavta Lerayacha Camocha usually translated as "Love Your Neighbor As Yourself."
When you say the Shema you need to realize that by itself this time the Shema is not complete. It takes two times saying the Shema each day to actually complete the Mitzvah, which then builds the healing structure.
If you wear Tzitzit, it is important to hold all 4 Tzitzit in your right hand over your heart.
It is important to say each word clearly and pronounce all of the letters. There are 30 places where the last letter of one word is the first letter of the next word. These 60 letters become the Soloman's Angels which are spoken about in the Book of Kings.
Every Jew (spiritual person) has the obligation to die Kiddush HaShem. This term is translated as "for the sake of heaven." The Kabbalah teaches that if we meditate that we are willing to die in this manner by the 4 types of death while saying the first 12 words of the Shema we actually sweeten our Tikune and will not have to die in these manners. The 4 deaths are Stoning (Malchut) Hanging (Chesed), Fire (Gevurah), Stabbing (Tiferet).
The Ramchal teaches that to replace any missed Shema it is good to meditate on the Tetragrammaton as follows: Start with the Hey then add the Vav so that you have Vav Hey. Now start with the Letter Yood and add the Hey to it leaving you with Yood Hey. This Hey + Hey Vav + Yood Hey totals 31 which is Yood Aleph Yood Yood. This unification helps to replace any missed Shemas.
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