Trumah: Chapter 59

Sh'ma Yisrael


Here, Rabbi Chiya and Rabbi Yosi are again traveling on the road. Rabbi Yosi opens a discussion with the words of the reading of Sh'ma: "Hear O Yisrael, the Creator our Elohim, the Creator is One," and, "Hear O Yisrael; this day you are become the people," and, "Hear O Yisrael, you are to pass over the Jordan this day." He then asks why the word "Hear" is used so many times, and says the union of Shem (name) with Ayin (seventy) is necessary. He next speaks of the seventy Names in the secret of the supernal chariot, the 72 Names of the three verses, the seventy members of the Sanhedrin plus the two witnesses. Sh'ma Yisrael, we learn, alludes to Malchut (that is called Shem) when he unites with Zeir Anpin (which is called Yisrael). Next, Rabbi Yosi tells us that "this day you are become a people" means that you broke your heart in order to serve God. The "Hear O Yisrael" of the union is, we learn, the secret of above and below, the secret of people accepting upon themselves the yoke of the heavenly kingdom, Malchut. At this moment of acceptance the Shechinah comes and rests on the person's head and bears him witness before God. Because the person recites and unites the Name of the Holy One, the Shechinah blesses him with seven blessings, and calls to him, "You are my servant, Yisrael, in whom I will be glorified."


Two great sages traveling upon a road indicates the journey of their souls through celestial corridors in the upper world, where they behold secrets of the universe. One secret collected on this excursion concerns the sh'ma, which essentially conjoins our world (and our souls) with the upper world. The purpose of this revelation is to unify the two worlds, and this effect is achieved now.

The sh'ma emits a Light of healing, a divine radiance that nourishes 248 parts of our spiritual and physical bodies. Thus, in the act of meditatively perusing this passage, we receive Light that heals all our physical ailments and the spiritual nutrients that forever strengthen our soul. The sages speak of the 72 Names of God so that we may draw upon their miraculous power to achieve our personal transformations. This miraculous change touches all mankind to facilitate the unification of the lower world with the upper. The Shechinah is spoken of so that we may permanently fortify our immune system and forever shield this world from the dark forces of the night.