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Shema

Please note that this page contain the name of God.
If you print it out, please treat it with appropriate respect.

If you do not have experience reading transliteration
please see the Guide to Transliteration.

The Shema is one of only two prayers that are specifically commanded in Torah (the other is Birkat Ha-Mazon -- grace after meals). It is the oldest fixed daily prayer in Judaism, recited morning and night since ancient times. It consists of three biblical passages, two of which specifically say to speak of these things "when you lie down and when you rise up." This commandment is fulfilled by including the Shema in the liturgy for Ma'ariv (evening services) and Shacharit (morning services). Traditional prayerbooks also include a Bedtime Shema, a series of passages including the Shema to be read at home before going to bed at night.

Part 1: Deuteronomy 6:4-9 

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The first part of the Shema begins with one of the best-known, most fundamental expressions of Jewish belief, and the one from which this prayer gets its name: Shema Yisra'el... (Hear, Israel). This expression is so fundamental that the most liberal Reform synagogue I know has these words carved on the outside of the building in foot-high letters (albeit in English). The second line of this part (Barukh sheim k'vod...) is actually not part of this passage from the Torah. It doesn't even appear anywhere in the Bible. It's a congregational response from the days of the Temple: whenever the High Priest would say the Divine Name, the people would respond with this line. Today, it is not said aloud except during Yom Kippur services.

Hebrew MIDI
Sh'ma Yisra'eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.
Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.
In an undertone:
Hebrew
Barukh sheim k'vod malkhuto l'olam va'ed.
Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever.
Hebrew
V'ahav'ta eit Adonai Elohekha b'khol l'vav'kha uv'khol naf'sh'kha uv'khol m'odekha.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Hebrew
V'hayu had'varim ha'eileh asher anokhi m'tzav'kha hayom al l'vavekha.
And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart.
Hebrew
V'shinan'tam l'vanekha v'dibar'ta bam
And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them
Hebrew
b'shiv't'kha b'veitekha uv'lekh't'kha vaderekh uv'shakh'b'kha uv'kumekha
when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Hebrew
Uk'shar'tam l'ot al yadekha v'hayu l'totafot bein einekha.
And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.
Hebrew
Ukh'tav'tam al m'zuzot beitekha uvish'arekha.
And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Part 2: Deuteronomy 11:13-21 

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The second part of the Shema repeats many of the themes from the first part, but adds promises of rewards and punishments.

Hebrew
V'hayah im shamo'a tish'm'u el mitz'votai
And it shall come to pass if you surely listen to the commandments
Hebrew
asher anokhi m'tzaveh et'khem hayom
that I command you today
Hebrew
l'ahavah et Adonai Eloheikhem ul'av'do b'khol l'vav'khem uv'khol naf'sh'khem
to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul,
Hebrew
V'natati m'tar ar'tz'khem b'ito yoreh umal'kosh
v'asaf'ta d'ganekha v'tirosh'kha v'yitz'harekha.
That I will give rain to your land, the early and the late rains,
that you may gather in your grain, your wine and your oil.
Hebrew
V'natati eisev b'sad'kha liv'hem'tekha v'akhal'ta v'sava'ta.
And I will give grass in your fields for your cattle and you will eat and you will be satisfied.
Hebrew
Hisham'ru lakhem pen yif'teh l'vav'khem
v'sar'tem va'avad'tem Elohim acheirim v'hish'tachavitem lahem

Beware, lest your heart be deceived
and you turn and serve other gods and worship them.
Hebrew
V'charah af Adonai bakhem v'atzar et hashamayim v'lo yih'yeh matar
v'ha'adamah lo titein et y'vulah

And anger of the Lord will blaze against you, and he will close the heavens and there will not be rain,
and the earth will not give you its fullness,
Hebrew
va'avad'tem m'heirah mei'al ha'aretz hatovah asher Adonai notein lakhem.
and you will perish quickly from the good land that the Lord gives you.
Hebrew
V'sam'tem et d'varai eileh al l'vav'khem v'al naf'sh'khem
uk'shar'tem otam l'ot al yed'khem v'hayu l'totafot bein eineikhem
.
So you shall put these, my words, on your heart and on your soul;
and you shall bind them for signs on your hands, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.
Hebrew
V'limad'tem otam et b'neikhem l'dabeir bam
And you shall teach them to your children, and you shall speak of them
Hebrew
b'shiv't'kha b'veitekha uv'lekh't'kha vaderekh uv'shakh'b'kha uv'kumekha
when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Hebrew
Ukh'tav'tam al m'zuzot beitekha uvish'arekha.
And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Hebrew
L'ma'an yirbu y'maychem vi-y'may v'naychem al ha-adamah
asher nishba Adonai la-avotaychem latayt lahem ki-y'may ha-shamayim al ha-aretz.

In order to prolong your days and the days of your children on the land
that the Lord promised your fathers that he would give them, as long as the days that the heavens are over the earth.

Part 3: Numbers 15:37-41 

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This third part of the Shema does not mention the need to speak of these things morning and night. It talks about the tzitzit (fringes) that are traditionally worn like a string around the finger as a reminder of the commandments, like the tefillin and mezuzot that are commanded in the first two paragraphs. The passage is also included to fulfill the mitzvah to remember the Exodus from Egypt every day of our lives.

Hebrew
Vayo'mer Adonai el mosheh lei'mor
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying...
Hebrew
Dabeir el b'nei Yis'ra'eil v'amar'ta aleihem
Speak to the children of Israel and say to them
Hebrew
v'asu lahem tzitzit al kan'fei vig'deihem l'dorotam
v'nat'nu al tzitzit hakanaf p'til t'kheilet
they should make themselves tzitzit (fringes) on the corners of their clothing throughout their generations,
and give the tzitzit of each corner a thread of blue.
Hebrew
V'hayah lakhem l'tzitzit ur'item oto uz'khar'tem et kol mitz'vot Adonai
va'asitem otam v'lo taturu acharei l'vav'khem v'acharei eineikhem
asher atem zonim achareihem

And they shall be tzitzit for you, and when you look at them you will remember all of the Lord's commandments
and do them and not follow after your heart and after your eyes
which lead you astray.
Hebrew
L'ma'an tiz'k'ru va'asitem et kol mitz'votai viyitem k'doshim lei'loheikhem
In order to remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God.
Hebrew
Ani Adonai Eloheikhem
I am the Lord, your God,
Hebrew
asher hotzei'ti et'khem mei'eretz Mitz'rayim lih'yot lakhhem leilohim
who lead you from the land of Egypt to be a God to you.
Hebrew
Ani Adonai Eloheikhem
I am the Lord, your God.

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