One of the greatest commandments that the Lord had ever taught the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.”
In the Jewish tradition, this passage is also being recited as a daily declaration of faith, or known as The Shema Prayer. Taken from the first word of the verse, Shema שְמַע (“Hear, O Israel”). What could be more important to the people of Israel than for the Lord to say, “hear, (listen and pay attention) oh my people?” If you really love me, the LORD your God, you would hear and do. This is non-other than the loving voice of the Heavenly Father spoken through Moses to express His love for the people. To see the well being of His children.
Is the LORD teaching his people how to love?
Or there’s another side of the message that we need to learn to “Shema” and to hear from the depth of our heart!
You see, it is interesting to realize that the first Hebrew letter in the Torah is a Bet (בּ) from the word Bereshit “in the beginning”, and the last letter is a lamed (ל) from the word Yisrael “Israel”. When we put these two letters together, we get the word lev (לב) meaning “heart”. As if the Torah summarized a beautiful picture of the heart of God toward us through His living word.
If we are to understand and be a good student of His word, isn’t it imperative for us to learn and to do His word from our heart as well? In hearing the word of God, believing and acting with faith, this shows our love in response to Him. For often we can hear and think in mind, but a person who really loves comes from the depth of his/her heart.
Therefore, may we listen (shema) with our heart (lev), “to love the LORD our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength.”