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The Merit of Reciting Shema

Orel Kipgen

In this week's Parsha the Torah commands the appointment of a special Kohen known as Masuak Milkhama (the Kohen anointed for war). His role is to teach the army Torah commandments concerning warfare and to encourage them. He addressed the army twice before the war actually took place. Firstly at the border before the army was mobilized and secondly after the army was organized and ready to ght. His proclamation starts with " Shema Israel / Hear, O Israel! You are about to join the battle with your enemy. Let not your courage falter. Do not be in fear, or in panic, or in dread of them. (Deuteronomy.20.3)

Why does the prefatory start with "Shema Israel / Hear , O Israel"?TheGemarainSotah 42a explains in the name of Rabbi Yochanan who says in the name of Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai, that a jew deserves to be saved if he had only the one merit ofrecitingShema every morning and night.SinceShema isthemostfundamentalactoffaith,wherebyajewaccepts God's authority upon himself, it constitutes such a great merit to save him.

ChafetzChaiminhisbookMachanehYisrael,Chapter4writes:"Realisationofthegreatness ofrecitingShema twicedailyshouldcauseajewtoendeavoralwaystoperformitatitsproper time. In this merit, God will save him from hardship and calamities".

With Faith & Love,

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