A New Shema Every Time You Say It

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Today’s Jewniverse is about a translation of the Shema prayer — only, it’s not the prayer as you’ve ever heard it. Rabbi Darby Jared Leigh talks about the word-to-word translation, asking whether “Israel” refers to the place or the people Israel — and why would you start a prayer off “Hear O Israel” when you can’t hear?

Rabbi Leigh’s thoughts on the matter are pretty incredible. And he seems like a pretty blow-away guy as well — check out his author page on MJL, and this hilarious video of the heavy metal band Twisted Sister playing during his rabbinical ordination. But really, check out his version of the Shema. And then check out your own. And see how thinking about his version changes yours.

Here’s the way it’s usually said:

 

And here’s Rabbi Leigh’s version, and his explanation:

Thanks to director Antony Benjamin for the tip! And thanks to Ritualwell for making it.

Posted on October 24, 2011

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