Monday, July 30, 2012

Adding the Truth

by Rabbi Daniel Travis

“There are 248 limbs in the body, and each word of Shema serves to protect one of them” [Zohar Chadash, Rus 97b]. However, when making a tally of all of the sections of Shema, one comes up with only 245 words. How do we make up for the three missing words?

“In order to make up the missing three words, the prayer leader should repeat the last three words of Shema, Hashem Elokeichem Emes [Hashem your G-d is Truth]” [Shulchan Aruch 61,3]. This is based on the halachic principle of “shome’a k’oneh,” that when one listens to words it is as if one said them personally. Therefore, these three words, in addition to the 245 words of Shema, bring us to the sum total of 248 words.

Shema in Hebrew [add the word ''Emes'' at the end]

Shema in English [note that the word ''True'' has been added at the end]

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