Often we hear products advertised as “the original,” or “authentic”, or “essential.” There is a certain draw which consumers have toward something being “real.” We look askance at someone who puts up a “veneer,” and attempts to fool us as to his true essence.
People who pride themselves on being generally good people are also proud of aligning themselves with truth. They want to support causes which deal with essential and true issues, which are not just promoting a “subjective agenda,” or a special interest.
Unfortunately, our day to day worlds don’t always lend themselves to dedication to essential issues. Most people need to work for a living, and as much as maintaining income and its pursuit is essential, there are things which are more essential which we rarely have time to focus on. I suspect that those who don’t absolutely need to work for a living also have many distractions which prevent them from focusing properly on life’s essentials as well.
The Torah states “And do not desecrate My unique name, and I will be sanctified among the Children of Israel, I am G-d Who sanctifies you. (Leviticus 22:32)
When we think of sanctifying G-d’s name we often conjure up a mental image of a righteous person refusing to trade his Judaism for anything, and being killed in the process. Inevitably, he dies with Hear O Israel… on his lips. Yet I’ve heard many say – and this is essential – that we also have the opportunity to “live” sanctifying G-d’s name, as opposed to dying sanctifying G-d’s name. And either way we must always have “Hear O Israel…” on our lips
“Hear and accept, O Israel, (that) Hashem, the One Who all existence emanates from; our G-d, is the One and Only source of all existence.(Deuteronomy 6:4) From the beginning of time until the end this is the only essential truth, the bottom line; what it all boils down to. There is no truth which is more basic or more real.
The Torah enjoins us to recite this “when you lay down and when you rise…” at night and in the morning, so that in all aspects of our lives and in all of our endeavors we begin with an initial focus on G-d’s existence; His hand in our lives which is constantly sustaining us.
“Shema Yisroel” is the basis of “living to sanctify G-d’s name” as it states in the paragraph which follows it. “And you shall love Hashem your G-d with all your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your wherewithal.” Our love of G-d should be palpable to the extent – our sages say – that others should come to love G-d through you. So that people will be moved to say: “so and so who learns Torah, how pleasing are his deeds, etc.” This is how we “live” to sanctify G-d’s name.
There is nothing more real or essential than the reality of “Shema Yisroel.” Let us make a campaign that every Jewish child no matter where, should recite the “Shema” daily, “when you lay down and when you rise.” Let us make this reality a focus of our lives. And let us merit to sanctify G-d’s name through our lives.