Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Long Life

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

“If someone extends the recitation of the word ‘echad’ (one) while saying Shema, Hashem will extend his days and years” (Brachos 13b). Our Sages reveal that aside from protecting each individual limb, the recitation of Shema also extends one’s life. Why is the word “echad” so important? The most crucial part of the mitzva of Shema is the first line. Whilst saying it, a person must keep in mind that Hashem is the only power in the world, and that He is “echad,” One and Unified in His existence. Without this in mind, a person does not fulfill the mitzva of Krias Shema and must repeat it (Shulchan Aruch 60,5).

When the letter ches, the second letter of echad, is inscribed in a Torah scroll it has two humps which form its “roof.” This distinctive formation, which alludes to the heavens, symbolizes Hashem’s absolute sovereignty over all of the Creation (Elia Rabba). In order to instill this within our hearts, the halachic authorities rule that the letter ches of the word “echad” should be extended slightly to give us enough time to contemplate Hashem’s kingship.

The numerical value of the letter daled, the last letter of echad, is four. This symbolizes Hashem’s rule, which extends to the four corners of the world. The halacha says that a person should extend the letter daled slightly to give himself enough time to contemplate Hashem’s dominion throughout the world and beyond. However, practically this is difficult for Ashkenazim to do, and one should be careful not to mispronounce the word by doing so (Shulchan Aruch 61: 5,6).


Text Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON NETZAVIM AND VAYEILECH:

View Complete List

Duality of Emotion
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

In Good Standing
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Spaced Out!
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

> Teshuva—Paradigm Shift
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

School of Soft Knocks
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

This Time, Let's Do It Right
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Higher Holiday
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

A Timeless Moment
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

God's Covenant
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Our Leaders Define Us
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Rabbi Frand on Parshas Vayelech
- 5769

The Covenant and Remembrance
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

ArtScroll

Encouraging News Before Rosh Hashana
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

For the Love of G-d
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Taking Stock Of The Nation When The Time Comes For Transfer Of Power
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Plenty of Redeeming Values
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information