Friday, January 11, 2008

Reciting the Shema

I've been getting a lot of exposure recently to the Jewish background of Christianity, and some friends of mine have also been so exposed. Some of the common material we've been exposed to pointed out that Jesus was Jewish -- not just the little bit Jewish that we Western-thinking, American Gentiles think of him being, but the full-blooded, tassel-wearing, phylactery-sporting, springy-sideburned Jewishness to which we tend to react by turning up our noses. As such, one of the things he'd likely have been doing every morning was reciting the Shema, as every good Jew male had been doing from little-boyhood. Independently, my friends and I thought it would be good to emulate this practice, so they've taught their young children the Shema, and I have been reciting it every morning myself. The version I use is kind of a mish-mash between the original (Deut 6:4), Jesus' version, and Jesus' addendum to it:
Hear Oh Israel! YHWH our God, YHWH is One. And you shall love YHWH your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
(Note that we Gentile Christians have been grafted in as Israel, so this message is for us as well as the physical descendants of Ibrahim.)

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