ב"ה
 
JCCMB.com » Adult Education » Ask the Rabbi » The Shema
 
PrintSend this page to a friendShare this

The Shema



Q. Why do we cover our eyes whan we say the Shema?

The Torah commands us to read three paragraphs of the Torah twice every day, once in the morning and once in the evening. These paragraphs are called Shema - the beginging word of the first verse. 

The most significant part of the Shema is the first verse which reads Hear Israel, the L-ord is our G-d the L-ord is one. This proclamation affirms our belief in a single, all powereful, infinite G-d - the basic premise of Judaism. Because of its importance, we must be sure that we pay attention to the words and their meaning as we say them.

The Talmud tells us that Rabbi Yehudah Hanassi, who lived in the second century, would cover his eyes while he would recite the first verse of the Shema,to ensure that nothing around him would disturb his concentration. Since then, the practice has been adopted by all Jewish communitied throught the world. 

In Judaism, preference is always given to the right side. Kabbalah explains that the right represents kindness while the left represents judgement. Because of this, we usually do Mitzvahs with our right hand. Therefore when we cover our eyes while saying the Shema, we cover our eyes with our right hand.  

To ask the Rabbi a question click here

PrintSend this page to a friendShare this