Tradition & Innovation

A Meditation on the Shema Israel

See yourself standing in the desert under a starlit sky.  Now see yourself looking up to the heavens as you pray the Shema Israel.  As you pray, see words of light coming down to you from above.  These are the words of the Shema.  See these words flowing into your body through your head.  See these words flowing from your head down to the rest of your body – to your neck, and from your neck to the core of your body, and to all your limbs.

The human body has 248 bones.  The Shema Israel prayer has 248 words.  See these words flowing into each of your bones – one word for every bone in your body.  Now envision your entire skeleton with words of light imprinted on every bone.  See this light flowing from your bones to fill every cell of your body.  Envision your whole body aglow with divine light.  See this light radiate outward from your body to touch everyone and everything around you.  Every time you pray the Shema, envision the words of light entwined within your bones, envision the words as a part of you, as the essence of your being.

"All my bones shall say "O God, Who is like You?" (Psalm 35:10)

"Bless Adonay, my soul; and all my bones, bless His holy name." (Psalm 103:1)

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