Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When Saying Shema

Here's a really good answer to a question asked to R' Avigdor Miller zt"l.

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When saying S'hma Yisroel, what should you think about?


First thing is, Kavana P'shuta, you have to know the translation of the words and think the translation. But I will give you a good suggestion. Every day you can put in another Peirush in that. S'hma Yisroel Hashem Elokainu Hashem Echod, Echod means He is One. What does One mean? That if you will travel to the North Pole, there Hashem is too. If you travel to the South Pole, He is there too, and in between by the way. Not only is He there, he is in between too. You go all the way to the West, or to the East, wherever you go, you will find Hashem. So if you travel to Tokyo, and you are all by yourself in a hotel, and you have a lot of money to spend, and a lot of leisure, know that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is looking at you. You have to behave. You behave. If you go all the way to Hungary, in a hotel in the mountains, you have a lot of money. Behave, because Hakadosh Baruh Hu is looking at you. If you are in the North Pole all by yourself. Behave, Hashem is looking at you. And if temptations come, then you have to behave like He is on the spot, which He is. So every day think at least this thought. Mizrach, Maariv, Tzafon, Darom, Maaloh, Umatah, He is One everywhere. Now you do this for homework one day, the next day think like this.

Hashem Echod
, Hashem is One, there is only one interest in our lives. We have a lot of interests, but He is the One interest. So when I go to work, it's only of Hashem that I am thinking. When I get married, only for Hashem. When I am raising children, only for Hashem. When I eat, only for Hashem. Even when I Daven, I am davening for Hashem, remember that to, it's a good idea, by the way. And so, Echod means, in all the things I do in this world, He is the only interest I have.

The next day, think
Hashem Echod it means, Hakadosh Baruch Hu is in this world, Ata Hu B'olam Hazeh, V'ata Hu B'olam Haba. Hakadosh Baruch Hu is in both worlds. So beware of Him in this world, and fulfill His mitzvos, because in the next world we will be together with Him too. You can not take a dive off the Empire State building and get rid of Him. No. "Im Esak Shamayim Sham Ata" (Tehillim) if I will go up to the Heavens, Dovid said, there You are. If I will go down to the depths of the sea, there You are. Everyday you can add another kavana if you want, in Echod.

Another Peirush you can say in Echod means. You are the only One that exists, nobody else exists, it's all imagination. NOBODY EXISTS in this world. Nothing exists, no sun. Hakadosh Baruch Hu imagined the sun, and it came into being. If He would withdraw His imagination, there wouldn't be any sun. When you look at the sun, or the moon, you are not seeing anything. You are seeing only the D'var Hashem, B'dvar Hashem Shamayim Nasu, its only His word that you see. When He said "Yehi", let it be, U'vruach Piv Kol Tzvam, L'olam Devarcha Nitzav Bashamayim, Your word is standing in the Heavens. That's all you see, the word of Hashem. There are no trees, no people, no houses, nothing. There is only Hashem. He is the only One that has real being, like the Rambam says in the beginning of Hilchos of Yesodai Hatorah. Hashem Elokim Emes, He is the only true being. Hu Levado Emes, He is the only One that is true. All the rest in the world is not real, it's only imagination. That's a meaning of Echod.

So I gave you a few things to think about. When you finish with them see me for further homework.


  1. This is AMAZING!! I just shared it with 2 other people, and I may share it with more. I hope to write it down on a piece of paper to put in my siddur. thank you, thank you!!

  2. WOW! Thank you so so much!! The fourth one is esp very powerful for me!! And the second! and ALL actully!! i cannot begin to thank u for this awesome website/blogspot!! whenever i need some inspiration i almost always immediately go here! I feel like e/t talks 2 me in such a profound way. This is my favorite website, and it adds a lot to my life! (I am being totally honest here!) :-)) THANK YOU!

  3. wow, really interesting!
    thanks dev

  4. luv-I'm so happy you liked this post and shared it with other people. Thanks for spreading the inspiration!
    Anon-Thank you so much. I am so happy that you are gaining from this blog! Hope you continue coming back for more!

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  5. you know from all my tefillos to have kavannah shema and shemoneh esrai are the easiest.. but i find that the whole pesukei dezimra is SO hard....
    any suggestions??

  6. I find that by saying pesukei dezimirah out loud really helps. Also, do you have a tune you like that you can sing out loud the pesukei dezimirah? one other gr8 tip is to use an english siddur- you'll get inspired by the words when you understand their meaning.

  7. thanks luv613 for the suggestions - i do use an english siddur. maybe i will try saying it out loud.

    this might sound really bad what i am gonna say - i hope you understand, but sometimes it is just so hard to keep on prasing hashem - it feels so distant....

    know what i mean?????

  8. totally: maybe you feel Hashem is "distant" and hard to keep praising because it is impossible to finish praising Him. He's infinite and His qualities are infinite and we don't know exactly Who He is because we're not on that level. but you can try to praise Him as much as you can, also based on Chazal's examples of His attributes..

  9. totally-another suggestion is to try to make pesukei dezimra more realistic to you by thinking about how the praises you are saying relate to you on a personal level. Take the meaning of ashrei adn stop for a minute to think about how Hashem is someich l'chal hanoflim, how He supports everyone! Or tzadik Hashem b'chol derachav - every single thing Hashem does is perfect even if we don't understand it fully!

    Another thing you should make sure to do is take it slowly. Take one tefillah at a time, work on concentrating on it for a week, for a month, until you are ready to move on to the next one.

    Hope this helps!


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