Monotheism. Judaism’s big contribution to the world. But what does it really mean and why is it such a big deal?
A Jew is instructed to say Shema twice a day, in the morning when he/she wakes up and at night when he/she goes to sleep. We are taught that this is to remind and reinforce our core belief of monotheism, after all that is what Shema is saying isn’t it? “שְׁמַע, יִשְׂרָאֵל: יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, יְהוָה אֶחָד – Listen, Israel, God is our Master, God is one.” But there is a much deeper meaning to the words of Shema.
The word אֶחָד in Hebrew really carries the connotation of ‘unified’ or ‘unity’ Shema should really be translated, “Listen, Israel, God is our Master, God is unified and everything” What this means is that we are affirming our belief that we are all connected to each other and to God, that we are all unified and that God is our link. The entire universe is unified through God and this is the real secret to monotheism, not that there is one God, but that there is one unified God, that the universe and all its inhabitants are connected through that one, unified Being.
So, today for your Jewish mission, say Shema and do something to unify the world through God. Whether it be having a get-together with friends, smiling at a stranger or giving charity, do something to bring the world together.