Ask A Kabbalist

Reciting the Shema


What should I concentrate on while I recite the Shema? Each section corresponds to a letter in the divine name. Should I be concentrating on something different as I pass through each section of the prayer? Thank You. ~CC


Dear CC,

Thank you for pointing out the important difference between traditional “prayer” and kabbalistic “connection.” The purpose of kabbalistic connection is to connect through the words to the Light of the Creator. Therefore, the kabbalists teach us kavanot, or the intent/direction of the words.

There are many aspects of meditation in the Shema. Here are a few:

1) The Shema is composed of 248 words that correspond to the 248 parts of our soul and body. Rav Berg emphasized, therefore, that we can strengthen our immune system with the Shema. And, we can share this healing energy with every person on the planet – both those whom we know need healing and those we don’t know, but who also need healing.

2) There are four sections of the Shema that relate to the Holy Name, the Tetragrammaton. So, we can connect through this name to the Ten Sefirot of the Tree of Life, Reality beyond all time, space, and motion.

3) The first section has 42 words corresponding to the Ana B’Koach, the second section has 72 words corresponding to the 72 Names, the third section has 50 words corresponding to the 50 gates of the Light, and the fourth section is 72 words corresponding to a different version of the 72 Names (where the three verses from Exodus that make up the 72 Names are all written forward instead of first forward, second backwards, third forward).

4) The Shema underscores the foundational consciousness that Rav Berg always emphasized – Love your neighbor as yourself. Without this consciousness, “all bets are off.” There is no true benefit to us if we are not sharing the Light with others.

For more details, please refer to one of the connection books, Dialing God: Daily Connection Book or Prayer of the Poor. These contain the Hebrew connections, the English transliteration, the English translation, AND further kabbalistic meditations that go into each aspect.


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