Moses’ Mantra

July 28th, 2018 — Shabbat Vaethanan

Rabbi David Kasher

The ‘mantra,’ a word or phrase repeated in order to induce a higher state of consciousness, is a hallmark spiritual practice in many of the great eastern religions. But it turns out we Jews have a kind of mantra of our own, the Shema prayer, traditionally chanted at least twice a day. What do the famous words of this prayer mean, and what is reciting them aloud meant to accomplish? To understand that, we have to go back to the first time they were uttered, by Our Teacher Moses, on the banks of the Jordan river.