Vaeschanan – Unmistakable Clarity

שמע ישראל ה' אלקינו ה' אחד. “Hear o Israel the Lord is our G-D the Lord is one.” This statement of belief in Hashem is the most famous and important statement in all of Judaism, andit is found in this week’s Torah portion of Vaeschanan (6:4).

The Torah never writes anything extra and warns us to be very careful not to say Hashem’s name in vain. Yet the Daas Zekeinim asks why The Almighty mentioned His name three times in this one pasuk? (See also the Chizkuni on this pasuk. Click here for Hebrew text)

The Daas Zekeinim answers that if the Torah would only have written: “Here o Israel the Lord is one,” (שמע ישראל ה' אחד) then every nation would have said that their god was the one. When the Torah writes “our G-D” ((אלקינו it is informing us that it is referring to the G-D of the Jews, whereas“The Lord our G-D is one” (שמע ישראל ה' אלקינו אחד) could be interpreted to mean He is one of the many gods, and that  definitely would sound true if the Torah had only written “Our G-D is one” (שמע ישראל אלקינו אחד). However, now that the Torah repeats Hashem’s name three times, it means: ‘Hashem, who is our master, he is unique in mastership and there is no one else like Him.’

It would seem from this Daas Zekeinim that without the Torah spelling out as clearly as possible that Hashem is the only true G-D, Creator and Master of the Universe, then other nations might have a claim that this is untrue.

This sounds a bit puzzling; either we are talking about people who are making a concerted effort to believe in Hashem, which, in that case, there is no need to spell out this whole statement because by going through a logical assessment anyone can acknowledge that it only makes sense there that there is only one Creator of the world, Master of the universe, who has a divine plan for all His creation. And if the Torah is trying to convince others of Hashem, than by just stating it, it wouldn’t help, if they refuse to be willing to accept it. So why, again, would the Torah write extra words, especially if it’s Hashem’s Holy Name, if it doesn’t help any?

It must be that the Torah is talking to people who do understand that there is a concept of Hashem; but it is one thing to acknowledge that it makes sense, but it is a totally different thing to accept it. To accept that there is a G-D who created the world out of the Torah which he Himself created 2000 years before creating the world, and that he then handed over the blueprints of creation to the Jewish People as a handbook to life because we were the only people willing to accept it, and still in all he left the rest of the world with six general commandments to observe, to accept that is a whole different ball game.

That is why the Torah had to spell out without a doubt that Hashem our G-D Hashem is one. There is a big difference between knowing something and accepting it as fact.

Happy Tu B’Av and good Shabbos,
Rabbi Dovid Shmuel Milder

 

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