Mendel Baruch: S’hema on Shabbat

I peeked. Yes, once I peeked open my eyes during the S’hema. The tradition is to focus one’s mind uniquely on this prayer. To do so, many people cover their eyes. So do I. This once, I peeked. I needed to see. What I thought I saw — could it have been real? — led to this short, short, 108 word story.

To listen while you read, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

Mendel Baruch
One Shabbat morning, Mendel Baruch recited a perfect S’hema. His mind clear, his heart pure, his very soul declaring the unity of G-d. The entire congregation called out to heaven in love with heaven’s own words.
S’hema Yisrael…” The chant rising from the men and women…
“The Eternal our G-d…” Almost visible, like smoke forming the script of Torah…
“The Eternal is One.” Like calligraphy drawn with song rising to praise the Holy Name.
When the words touched both heaven and earth, the angels joined the prayer. In that moment, the space between here and beyond was filled with Torah. And nothing, nothing existed but G-d’s holy word.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

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“Alden has become one of Reform Judaism’s master poet-liturgists…" - Religion News Service, Dec. 23, 2020

“Mesmerizing, spiritual, provocative, and thoughtful, Alden was everything you would want in a guest scholar and teacher.” – Rabbi Denise L. Eger, Congregation Kol Ami, Los Angeles, and Past President, CCAR

"Alden Solovy has become one of the most revered liturgists of the last decade…" - Jewish Post & Opinion, March 29, 2023

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