Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Shema

Shema Prayer




The Shema is the great prayer of the Jews.  Often recited countless times during the day by the devout, it is part of morning and evening prayer, and it is written upon the doorposts of Jewish homes.  It is the prayer of the Bible for the Jewish faithful.  It is a Declaration of Faith derived from three passages of the Old Testament:

  • Deuteronomy 6:4-9
  • Deuteronomy 11:13-21
  • Numbers 15:37-41

Shema TallitFor MORE INFORMATION about the SHEMA, detailed instructions on reciting the prayer and other Jewish prayers and practices, visit




Shema WallCover your eyes with your right hand and say:

Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One.

Recite the following verse in an undertone:

Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever.

You shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall teach them thoroughly to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.

And it will be, if you will diligently obey My commandments which I enjoin upon you this day, to love the L-rd your G-d and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, I will give rain for your land at the proper time, the early rain and the late rain, and you will gather in your grain, your wine and your oil. And I will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be sated. Take care lest your heart be lured away, and you turn astray and worship alien gods and bow down to them. For then the L-rd’s wrath will flare up against you, and He will close the heavens so that there will be no rain and the earth will not yield its produce, and you will swiftly perish from the good land which the L-rd gives you. Therefore, place these words of Mine upon your heart and upon your soul, and bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, to speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates – so that your days and the days of your children may be prolonged on the land which the L-rd swore to your fathers to give to them for as long as the heavens are above the earth.

The L-rd spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel and tell them to make for Shema Teffilinthemselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to attach a thread of blue on the fringe of each corner. They shall be to you as tzizit, and you shall look upon them and remember all the commandments of the L-rd and fulfill them, and you will not follow after your heart and after your eyes by which you go astray – so that you may remember and fulfill all My commandments and be holy to your G-d. I am the L-rd your G-d who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your G-d; I, the L-rd, am your G-d. True.

From Siddur Tehillat Hashem. © Copyright Kehot Publication Society, Brooklyn NY
Published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, all rights reserved.

Out of the Maze

Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies—make straight your way before me.
Psalm 5:8 (NIV) Scroll Divide Horizontal 2

Cornfield NewThe shoots of corn stand eight inches tall. The sun has only just come over the horizon, giving a pale pink glow to the morning sky. We are in the middle of the long western expanse of the cornfield, Vic holding a paper map in his hand and surveying the project. A smudge of jam on the corner of the map recalls the fun of last night as he and the kids had penciled in and erased lines. Together, they worked hard to plan the maze. Better yet, they had fun.

Today Vic is beginning to put their plan into action. The map is filled with straight Cornfield Maze Enterlines. He steps forward, pulling all the corn out of a row of dirt in an exact copy of the straight lines on his paper map, leaving a walking path through the cornfield. The trail through these baby corn plants will be almost invisible today, but what a wonderful adventure it will be when the corn eventually grows green and tall.

Cornfield Maze KidsCome fall, the great cornfield will hide a complex trail pattern of lines, turns, dead-ends, and hidden “rooms,” the whole maze carefully drawn out in the map in Vic’s hand today. One way into the corn maze. And among all the twists and turns…there is only one special way out.

As Vic works, cutting his path through the cornfield, I think of life’s trials this past year. Oftentimes, we felt blinded and lost in a maze. Today, catching the flutter of God’s map in the breeze, I am reminded of the Lord’s incomprehensible plan and His protection in our journey through life’s maze. He is the great Creator and Protector. He makes the crooked way straight.

Looking ahead to November and the fun of children laughing in the middle of the cornfield, I bow my head in thanksgiving.  God watches us in life’s maze.  He will bring us safely home.


PRAYER:  Lord, strengthen our trust in your plan for our lives. Help us feel the love you surround us with in the midst of our daily walk.  Amen.


Meditations:  In the Garden


Copyright 2013.  All Rights Reserved.


A Child’s Eyes

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
(Luke 18:16) Scroll Divide Horizontal 2

Impatient Woman

I was hot. Tired. Fuming and impatient. I tapped my foot. If only the lady in front of me, talking with the hotel desk clerk, would hurry. I needed to get moving. I burned with the frustration of the last thirty minutes, driving lost, circling around the same highway, over and over. I needed directions. Now. I looked at the back of her hair and fixed my stare.

My eyes grew restless just in time to catch a small movement. Just over her right shoulder, the yellow crown of a child started to rise. Bit by bit, the forehead appeared with bangs, eyebrows, nose, and two wide brown eyes–looking straight at me.

Slowly, a twinkle in the child’s eyes flashed with a smile, and she ducked down Child Peeking Fingersbehind her mother’s shoulder. Almost instantly, though, the yellow hair tilted sideways and began to rise again, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, tilted forehead, eyes, and smile. I smiled back. And winked. She ducked and came up again, hands over her face. With our eyes and smiles, we played and played.

Growing confident in one another, our game slowed until, in quiet agreement, we stopped and stared, wide-eyed, curious, and trusting, two humans opening our ageless hearts in friendship. We just agreed to look at each other and pay Child Smilingattention.

Time no longer mattered. I would get where I needed to go, but I would be richer for the time spent looking into the eyes of a child and meeting God.

Scroll Divide Horizontal

Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.
–Sir Arthur Wing Pinero

Psalm 8

Divine Majesty and Human Dignity

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

[a]O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is thy name in all the earth!

Baby in WombThou whose glory above the heavens is chanted
    by the mouth of babes and infants,
thou hast founded a bulwark because of thy foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,
    the moon and the stars which thou hast established;
what is man that thou art mindful of him,Universe
    and the son of man that thou dost care for him?

Yet thou hast made him little less than God,
    and dost crown him with glory and honor.
Thou hast given him dominion over the works of thy hands;
    thou hast put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
Whalethe birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the sea.

O Lord, our Lord,                                                  
    how majestic is thy name in all the earth!


  1. 8 A magnificent hymn to the glory of God as seen in creation and reflected in man.

Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Psalm 1

The Two Ways  Two Paths


Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water,
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


For a modern comment on the paths we choose in life…

The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost