Va’etchanan: The Lord is our God, the Lord is One

We must conceive our connection and relationship with God as part of Him. This is the main lesson of this portion when we read the most fundamental statement and principle of Judaism: “Hear [understand], O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4), which also defines our individual and collective identity as Jews. These are the first words we hear when we are born, and the last words we say and hear when we die. From this identifying statement we understand who we are and our purpose in life.


As long as we are aware of God in every dimension of consciousness, we will be able to live our true Essence and identity that come from Him because we are part of Him. The following verses command us the ways to love the Source of our identity because God’s love determines this identity. We are commanded to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our might (6:5), which also means with all levels and aspects of consciousness because every dimension of us is also part of the love of God from which we belong. This is how we understand and assimilate that love is our common bond with God. These verses are decisive to make us aware of our Essence and identity based on our connection and relationship with God.

These verses are closely related to the first two Commandments of the Decalogue also mentioned in this portion prior to the fundamental statement indicated earlier: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall not have other gods before Me. You shall not make unto you a graven image, even any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth below, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down unto them, nor serve them (…)” (5:6-8).


In these Commandments God also defines His connection with us, Who He is for us, and what He wants from us based on our relationship with Him clearly defined by the His Unity and Oneness. Hence to love Him is to reiterate our common bond with Him. If we do not assimilate this principle, we will never understand the meaning of our Jewish identity as defined above.

Our true freedom depends on God’s ways and attributes as the material manifestation of God’s love. Only in this freedom we can know God and fulfill our relationship with Him, opposite to living under the dominion of materialistic fantasies and illusions in which we are captive as our forefathers were in the house of bondage in Egypt. Forced labor was the order of the day back then to build pyramids for Pharaoh, and forced labor is the order of the day now to sustain fantasies and illusions derived from the exploitation of ego’s desires by Consumer Society (the Pharaoh of our times).

Fantasies and illusions that don’t see, don’t hear, don’t smell, and don’t taste. Neither they think or move by their own, for they are the idols from the present and from the past. In our Oneness with the Creator we are fully aware that everything comes from Him and is sustained by Him, and nothing else. Thus we realize that He is the One and only reality from which we exist, and there is no other reality.

The Written and Oral Torah, both as one, instructs us how to know God besides telling us that we belong to Him. First we must know who we are as part of His love, and then we must know how we relate to His ways and His will for us. The second Commandment of the Decalogue warns us about living under the dominion and control of illusions created by ego’s desires out of either a false or imposed belief of lack. There’s no lack in our permanent bond with God because He is sufficient for all that He has created.

We live divided and separated when we don’t live in the unity of God’s ways and attributes in all aspects of consciousness. We are commanded to love God because through love we are united to His love, and in this Unity there are no fantasies or illusions of any kind. In this awareness, Love is the only reality and the only purpose of life and in this world. God’s love is His Glory that covers the Earth. We just need to get to this awareness in order to truly know Him.

Digital StillCamera

First we have to let love’s ways and attributes to conduct and guide our discernment and thoughts, beliefs and ideas, feelings and emotions, passions and instincts, speech and actions. This is the beginning to awaken our consciousness to God’s Presence in all that He has created. Through love we reveal His concealed Presence in the world, because God’s love is the means to discover Him in His Creation.

Our Prophets tell us that God dwells in Zion, in the Temple of Jerusalem, and this is the same truth when we declare that the Lord is our God and the Lord is One. God lives in us as long as we realize that He indeed does. In this sense it is up to us to realize and experience that the Torah shall come from Zion and the word of God from Jerusalem, when we finally choose to enthrone Him in the highest awareness of our connection to Him, which is Zion-Jerusalem. First we must free our consciousness from the chains of materialistic desires and fantasies and return to the freedom that love is.

Love is the ways and means of our true freedom, and in this freedom we will be able to recognize and embrace God’s love as the Source of our Love and our freedom. This is the meaning and implication of the first and second Commandments, in which our connection and relationship with God is stated. Let’s reflect more deeply in the statement we hear when we are born, and recite at least twice daily. Let’s reflect thoroughly in our Essence and true identity. Let’s reflect intensely about why God commands us to love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our might.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Zefat.
Related Topics
Related Posts