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    Speaking to God – Va’et’channan

    pray daven tefillah salvation shamayimShema Yisra’el, “Listen, Israel”, uses the name Israel in the sense of the people descended from our forefather Israel, i.e. Jacob. Unexpectedly perhaps, Israel is also one of the names of God.

    Possibly it derives from the phrase, Yashar E-l, “The Divine Upright One”. According to Rabbi Yannai in the Jerusalem Talmud (Ta’anit 2:6), God had such love for Israel that He adopted the people’s name for His own.

    Whatever the origin of the idea, the Shema speaks to God. We tell Him that whatever happens, we will still believe in Him. No enemy can separate us from Him. Not even God can separate us from Him.

    In the long literature of Jewish suffering, there is a passage that says, “God, You seem to do everything You can to stop us believing in You. But we warn You, God: nothing You do will make us give up believing in You!”

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