“Sh’ma Y’israel Adonai Eloneinu Adonai Echad.” This is the core prayer of the Jewish: “Listen, Israel, for the Lord is our G-d, G-d alone”. This past Friday, Rabbi Sandy Sasso pointed out that in our Siddurs the two letters of the first and last words were larger than the rest, and they had marks over them. She said this was to draw extra attention to them.
Rabbi Sandy said that with changing those two letters, it is now “Shma Y’israel Adonai Eloneinu Adonai Echar,” which would translate into “Perhaps the Lord is another.” I heard this and thought to myself, that, yes, this makes sense why the publisher would draw special attention to those two letters. If a Jew mispronounces even the second word, it is a violation of the First Commandment.
But how serious is that Violation?
According to Torah, Jews could be put to death for denying G-d. Now, people tend not to give it a second thought. We mingle with Atheists, Pagans, Buddhists, Maoists, and don’t care because they are generally good people. As Jews, however, we must hold ourselves accountable. We must pay special attention to this beautiful prayer. Even if G-d does not punish us, this is a Holy language that is we should strive pronounced correctly. By saying it correctly, we honor G-d, and honor ourselves.