Va-et’chanan (Deuteronomy 3:23–7:11)
This Week’s Torah Portion: Va-et’chanan (Deuteronomy 3:23–7:11)
Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad.
Hear O Israel, Adonai is our God, Adonai is One.
In the Torah scroll, in every Torah scroll, the Shema is written in a unique and special way. The last letter of the first word, (which is an ayin) and the last letter of the last word (which is a dalet) are written larger than all the other letters in the text. We are not sure when or why this tradition for writing the letters of the Shema first began, perhaps simply to draw attention to these essential Jewish words on the Oneness of God. But why these particular letters? Because together these two letters form the word eid, which means “witness.”
The Shema teaches us that being a witness to the Oneness of God means doing the things, and being the people, that demonstrate God’s presence in the world.