Learning that the roots of the Christian faith are Hebraic has opened up a whole new understanding. Understanding that continues to blossom and bloom into the most gorgeous flower full of fragrance, color and beauty. Not only something to believe, but something to do.
Let us look at Two Hebrew words from what Yeshua said was the most important law. (Love GOD with all your heart mind and strength/ and the corollary that is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself). This law that Yeshua referred to is well-known to our brothers in Judaism. It is the ‘Shema.’
It is found here:
Deu 6:4 Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.
Deu 6:5 And you shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
Deu 6:6 And these Words which I am commanding you today shall be on your heart.
Deu 6:7 And you shall teach them to your sons, and shall speak of them as you sit in your house, and as you walk in the way, and as you are lying down, and as you are rising up. (LITV)
SHEMA (HEAR) Defined
Strongs H8085 sha?ma?
A primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively to tell, etc.): – X attentively, call (gather) together, X carefully, X certainly, consent, consider, be content, declare, X diligently, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear (-ken, tell), X indeed, listen, make (a) noise, (be) obedient, obey, perceive, (make a) proclaim (-ation), publish, regard, report, shew (forth), (make a) sound, X surely, tell, understand, whosoever [heareth], witness.
If we synthesize that definition to a basic understanding, Shema means to HEAR AND OBEY…not one or the other…Both.
Every Mom and Dad understands this concept when their child neglects to follow an instruction made to them. “Didn’t you ‘hear’ what I said?” The smart-Alec response might be, “Sure, I heard you.” But, the lack of action prompted the question from the parent. Hearing an instruction requires that the instruction is carried out or it is obvious that the child did not ‘hear.’ Or certainly, did not take it seriously.
So, the most important instruction we received from the Father is to HEAR and OBEY: Shema!
So, how do we ‘obey’ the instruction that the LORD is One?
In Hebrew the word is ‘Echad.’
ECHAD (ONE) Defined
From Strong’s H259 ‘echa?d
A numeral from H258; properly united, that is, one; or (as an ordinal) first: – a, alike, alone, altogether, and, any (-thing), apiece, a certain [dai-] ly, each (one), + eleven, every, few, first, + highway, a man, once, one, only, other, some, together.
Many take this to mean that the Father is a ‘unity’ or ‘three-in-one’ to bolster their doctrine of the Creator being a ‘trinity.’ But, that doesn’t really satisfy what ‘echad’ means. ‘Properly united, that is one’ doesn’t suggest a trinity unless an agenda or pre-conceived notion is imposed on the definition.
Properly united (i.e. one), would suggest a completeness. Nothing to add or subtract. That understanding would fit with the synonyms in the above definition. Alone, Once, Only, pre-eminent (as an ordinal: first).
Yeshua prayed for his disciples to be (echad) One with the Father the same way He was One with YHVH. There is so much we don’t understand about being ‘One’ or Echad. I hope the following excerpt from an article will bless you.
The following is is from the website: Hethathasanear.com
In Paleolithic-Hebrew the letters aleph-chet-dalet are what make up the Hebrew word echad. The Hebrew letter aleph is shown as the head of an ox and chet-dalet is a door in the fence to enter into covenant with Him. Aleph represents a fullness of strength and power. So, when this word, echad, was originally used it would have been defined as “the strength of someone coming into covenant”.
“Yeshua is praying to His Father, YHVH, that we become echad (Hebrew for “one”) with Spirit “just as”, in similar fashion, in like manner as He is echad with Spirit “…that My Joy might abide in them and that their joy might be full”. Yeshua was drawing on the imagery found in Psalm 16:11. He knew where His Joy was to be found – in the Presence of His Father. By being obedient to His Father’s Words, He became echad with His Father and He opened the Way for us to become echad as well. The Hebrew letters aleph-chet-dalet are what make up the Hebrew word echad. The images found in the Paleo-Hebrew pictograph these Hebrew letters represent when strung together show the Hebrew letter aleph as the head of an ox, representing a fullness of strength and power, while the chet is shown as a wall or fence and the dalet is shown as a door. This is interesting because in ancient Hebrew culture, to pass through a doorway was an act of coming into covenant with the leader of the home. So not only does dalet represent “a way in,” but it is also considered a way into covenant with someone. Together, the picture they present is “behold, a door in the fence.” Now we can see what the joy of Yeshua is – the gladness of providing a door in the fence to enter into covenant with His Father, a path for coming into YHVH’s Presence! So, when this word, echad, was originally used it would have been defined as “the strength of someone coming into covenant”. Where did Yeshua find His Joy? He found it in the keeping of His Father’s commandments for they are what caused Him to abide in the Presence of His Father where there is “fullness of joy”. He goes on to say the glory given to Him by YHVH is also given to us. In John 15:8-11 we are told the means by which to acquire that glory is the same means Yeshua acquired it – to abide, to make our residence in the Nature of Spirit as defined by the Words of the Father. It is in the keeping of those Words that we come into YHVH’s Presence, becoming one with Him and, thereby, finding the strength of His Joy in us.”
That gives a lot of information to chew on!
This really gets interesting if we look at the Hebrew word Echad and parse out the letters that form it!
To recap, ECHAD in Hebrew is spelled Aleph, Chet, Dalet.
Individually, these ‘letters’ are also concepts. Aleph is the Strong Leader (the Father)
Chet: is a Fence (often synonymous with the Torah)
Dalet: is the Door (often used to describe Yeshua/the Messiah).
So, in addition to the ‘Behold the door in the fence’ concept that is stated in the excerpt above, we could see it as, “The Father, the Torah and The Messiah.” No wonder the original concept was ‘Strength of the Covenant!”
Not only that, we could look at it as an instruction to Do. Just as the excerpt above considers being echad as ‘a path for coming into YHVH’s presence.’ Doesn’t that sound like ‘the way?’ Doesn’t that clarify what the strength of the covenant is? Echad! To paraphrase a movie quote to refer to Yeshua and his disciples: The Covenant is Strong with this one! No one was more obedient to the Father than Yeshua! Our model for how we are to be Echad!
Might I suggest the following? The Father, provides us the Torah which leads us to the Messiah which is the doorway to eternal life. Does that make it easier to follow the logic that Echad is describing The Way! So, not only is YHVH telling us that He is One, he is telling us what being ‘One’ with him entails! It is more than just an idea! It is an instruction!
So now, when you say the Shema, will that expand your understanding of His Word? Will that inform the first commandment that states he is One God? “I am Jehovah your God, who has brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. You shall not have any other gods before Me.” Exo 20:2-3
I am Jehovah; that is My name; and I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to engraved images. Isa 42:8
Yeshua the Messiah called upon the name of YeHoVaH:
John 17:25 – “O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 “And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare [it], that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”