Posted by: gruvenreuven | August 7, 2009

Shema – Teach your children

Shema - Teach your ChildrenIn this week’s Torah Reading, Parsha Eikev, the Torah records the 2nd verse of the Shema in Devarim 11:13–21.

The Shema is our assertion of the oneness of God’s kingship. It is the central verse in Torah and in Judaism, and is a mitzvah for each and every Jew to recite twice a day (When you lay down, and when you arise).

As a child, I remember my grand mother reciting the Shema with me every time she tucked me in at night (As I do today with my Kids). When we adopted my son, and I held him for the very first time just hours after he was born, the Shema were the first words he heard from my voice.

There is a story about the Ponevitcher Rav, Rabbi Yosef Kahaneman zt”l. Legend tells us that after the Holocaust, Rabbi Kahaneman was looking for Jewish children who were hidden away during the war and had survived. As some of the children were to believed have been tucked away in church orphanages, Rabbi Kahaneman went searching though Churches. He was granted permission to enter the children’s section, but was told there were no Jewish Children to be found there. As he entered he began calling out “Shema Yisroel”. Instinctively many of the children raised their hands to cover their eyes and started calling out “Mama! Mama!”

As it says in this Parsha Eikev this week:
“And you shall teach them to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up”



  1. I liked your blog post. It is important for me to do the Shma Israel with my kids every day.

  2. Any man who chooses to be a ‘rabbi’ (‘true teacher’ of Torah) or a ‘dayan’ (‘judge’), or a ‘mekubal’ (‘kabbalist’) should be doing so Voluntarily. Out of his pure love for Hashem and the Torah. And his Ahavat Yisrael.

    If he refuses to do community work voluntarily, and wants and accepts payment for everything he does, such a man should not be heading a community. He should get a job and earn a living. He can collect milk bottles or clean the windows. That is what is called ‘earning a living’.

    Torah is learned, studied and taught: out of Love. Voluntarily. But the ‘rabbis’ have turned the Torah into their ‘Profession’, from which they earn money.

    We are commanded in the Shema to:
    ‘LOVE Hashem, your G-d, WITH ALL YOUR HEART, and with all your soul and with all your might.’

    ‘VE’AHAVTA et Hashem Elokecha BECHOL LEVAVECHA uvechol nafshecha uvechol meodecha.’ (Devarim, Vaethanan, 6:4-5)

    Is the ordinary man or woman PAID to pray to Hashem, or to say some words of Torah? No. Has veshalom! But the rabbis are. These men can give ‘lovely’ shiurim that they have rehearsed. But they would not give a shiur without being paid for it.

    The true hachamim and rabbis of old, all actually worked at proper jobs and professions.

    Wake up! Even a little child could have worked this out. These salaried men can never truly stand for the Torah, because in a case of conflict between a correct course of action according to the Torah, and the rabbi or rav’s pocket – his pocket and position will always prevail.

    Pirkei Avot: (2:2)
    “Raban Gamliel beno shel Rabi Yehuda HaNassi omer: yafeh talmud Torah im derech eretz, sheyegiat shenaihem mashkachat avon. Vechol Torah she’ein imah melacha sofa betailah ve’goreret avon. Vechol haoskim im hatzibbur yiheyu imahem leShem Shamayim……”

    “Rabban Gamliel, the son of Rabi Yehuda HaNassi, said: It is good to combine Torah study with a worldly occupation, for working at them both drives sin from the mind. All Torah without an occupation will in the end fail and lead to sin. And let all who work for the community do so for the sake of Heaven………”

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