Now in the Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Concordance under Strong's number 8085, it has this to say about the meaning of this word:
1) to hear, listen to, obey (verb)
1a1) to hear (perceive by ear)
1a2) to hear of or concerning
1a3) to hear (have power to hear)
1a4) to hear with attention or interest, listen to
1a5) to understand (language)
1a6) to hear (of judicial cases)
1a7) to listen, give heed
1a7a) to consent, agree
1a7b) to grant request
1a8) to listen to, yield to
1a9) to obey, be obedient
1b1) to be heard (of voice or sound)
1b2) to be heard of
1b3) to be regarded, be obeyed
1c) (Piel) to cause to hear, call to hear, summon
1d1) to cause to hear, tell, proclaim, utter a sound
1d2) to sound aloud (musical term)
1d3) to make proclamation, summon
1d4) to cause to be heard
2) sound (noun masculine)
That's quite a list aye! That "aye" is meant for our dear Canadian friends.
Okay, so when folks refer to "The Sh'ma", the meaning taken is to "Hear" and "Obey". The meaning gets lost in the translation doesn't it. Now what we've been taught through xtianity is that we just have to "Hear" and therefore just "believe". This is the Greek way of thinking. But Yahweh didn't raise up a people to Himself and call them Greek'el, did He! No, He gave the name Yisra'el, and that's who we are to join if we want to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. What we've been misled is that we don't have to "Obey" and therefore "do". "Do" what you say? That's a great question! We're to do His Mitsvot, His commands, His Written Torah! This is referring to a particular place in Scripture:
Debarim (Deuteronomy) 6:4-9 "Hear, O Yisra'ĕl: hwhy our Elohim, hwhy is one! Blessed is the name of HIS esteemed Kingdom, for all eternity!
Part of The Sh'ma is verse 4, and then added to that as part of the liturgy is what's italicized. The word "one" in this context means "unity". There's more that follows like verses 5-9, known as the V'ahavta, which means "You Shall Love":
Debarim 6:5-9 "And you shall love hwhy your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your might. (6) "And these Words which I am commanding you today shall be in your heart, (7) and you shall impress them upon your children, and shall speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up, (8) and shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (9) "And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
And who do we Love? Yahweh, and His Word, and who's His Word, Yahoshua HaMoshiach! Which is represented by His Written Torah that He gave us by speaking it and having Moshe (Moses) write it!
Shemoth (Exodus) 24:4 And Mosheh wrote down all the Words of hwhy, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve standing columns for the twelve tribes of Yisra'ĕl.
Now the reason I'm showing your Shemoth (Exodus) 24:4, is that many people have gotten the idea that Yisra'el passed the Torah down orally for many generations. This simply isn't true! This is again stated in Debarim (Deuteronomy) 31:9. You can look this one up.
Alright, back to Debarim 6:5-9 Yahweh tells us to hear and obey, to love Him, to guard and do His Word. To teach our kids, and continually speak of His Word throughout our day, from when we get up, till we end our day by going to sleep. Thinking and doing His Word, along with writing them on our door frames and gates.
Now The Sh'ma along with the V'ahavta are but two of the liturgies in a congregation we once belonged to, where we freely did as part of our worship unto Yahweh. I was blessed to be able to lead the congregation each Shabbat in these and other liturgies as a Cantor or Chazzan (Hebrew). Over a year ago, I just felt Yahweh had put it on my heart to come up with another tune as an alternative to how we do "The Sh'ma". I was told when becoming a Cantor, that I had the liberty to do this if I felt so led. The problem was, I wasn't a song writer, and so we continued to do it the same way, but in the back of my mind was this urge for another tune.
Then some months later on a Shabbat, as my wife and I are driving to where our congregation was meeting, it hit me in an instant! It had to be from Yahweh! I envisioned a shofar, and singing The Sh'ma somewhat like the notes from the shofar! I then started to sing it in this fashion in the van, and it was all there! I felt that this was somehow a proclamation to all of the 12 tribes of Yisra'el that have been disbursed throughout the world. I have to admit while writing this posting, and I went to get the definitions for Sh'ma, I saw: 1d1) to cause to hear, tell, proclaim, utter a sound 1d2) to sound aloud (musical term) 1d3) to make proclamation, summon. It brought me great joy and it was a confirmation to me by the Ruach HaKodesh (Set-Apart Spirit of Yahweh, or Holy Spirit) as to why I was given this.
I now call this Shofar Sh'ma. When we recite this, someone from our congregation will blow the Shofar with the first note short and the second note long, and then we all start. I've recorded it here for you to listen to.
The Shofar Sh'ma:
Now I have to tell you when I first started leading our congregation in doing it this way, that there were a few holdouts, as they preferred to do it the traditional way. After hearing that, I was somewhat discouraged, so I only led the Shofar Sh'ma on occasion. A few months later a wife of an elder came up to me and said that this new way had been ministering to her day and night for a couple weeks, and had been constantly on her mind. Also her sister shared that another meaning of the word "Shofar" is that it's our voices! I was encouraged by what these dear sisters shared.
I had this sudden drive to write about the Sh'ma while writing my last posting. While The Sh'ma posting, and finding out the definition for Sh'ma, along with everything else that occurred, I decided to share this story briefly at our weekly Torah study. Afterward, an elder suggested that I share this with our congregation. So I put together a PowerPoint presentation explaining the chain of events. I pointed out that I firmly believe this was the leading of Yahweh, and that this was given to me to share! He's given us something for us to proclaim to all of Yisra'el with!
Finally I told everyone to "See The Sound in your mind's eye, by Proclaiming the Sh'ma Through Your Shofar, Your Voice to the Twelve Tribes of Yisra'el! HalleluYAH!
One final thought and that is this, did you know our Savior Yahshua HaMoshiach said the Sh'ma as well?! Yes indeed, and it's recorded in Scripture! He also said a portion of the V'ahavta, and the summation of the 10 Commandments too! It's found in Mark:
Mark 12:28-31 And one of the scribes coming near, hearing them reasoning together, knowing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "Which is the first command of all?"
And Yahshua answered him, "The first of all the commands is, 'Hear, O Yisra'el, Yahweh our Elohim, Yahweh is one. 'And you shall love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first command. "And the second, like it, is this, 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no other command greater than these."
This is also part of the liturgies that we like to recite too. I hope you will begin to take the Sh'ma to heart, and proclaim this not by rote, but vocally from your heart to the 12 Tribes that have been scattered throughout the world!
When we next meet I think it's going to be time to share something that's really going to shake your tree! It has to do with what's in a title, or should I say name! I know it did mine! Until then...