Shema Yisrael: Hashem Eloheinu, Hashem echad.
Hear O Israel: Hashem is our Gd, Hashem is one.
Over the centuries, commentators have found multiple ways to interpret that declaration. The command to hear could be to the entire community collectively or to individuals. One could mean “our Gd is unique among the gods that are worshipped” or “there is only one Gd in all of creation.”
Yet perhaps the most interesting word in the Shema is Eloheinu, which is translated “our Gd,” but is derived from eloheim — a plural noun meaning gods, such that the Shema could be interpreted to mean “Hashem is all our gods and is one.”
And at this time in the history of human civilization, that seems to be an important lesson that humanity needs — whatever names we call, whatever language we speak, whatever our religious rituals… whether as individuals we most easily connect to The Sacred through music, art, prayer, study, acts of kindness, the beauty of nature, or relationship with others… we are all reaching for, and hopefully connecting with, the singular Unity that is the One mighty and awesome Gd of creation!
This weekend, through all of our experiences, in every moment, may we allow ourselves to connect to the One who hides behind the many.
Shabbat shalom, jen