Yihud HaShem – The Uniting Intention
Yihud Ha Shem is the multi-faceted affirmation of the Shema, the section of Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) often translated as “Hear O Israel, the Eternal is our God, the Eternal is One,” and which serves as the central prayer of the Jewish People:
Shema Yisrael – Hear O Israel
Listen up, Israel!
I am paying attention!
I am part of the Jewish Experience!
Adonai Eloheinu – the Eternal is our God
The Core of Spiritual Life, ultimately beyond naming,
Is what I strive to build my life around!
Adonai Echad – the Eternal is One!
That Core of Spiritual Life is ultimately connected with all,
And expressed in many ways through Shalom,
the peaceful co-existence of all things.
“And you shall love Adonai your God with all your Lev (heart and mind together) all your Nefesh (body and soul together) and all your Me’od (your “very,” your All”).
Ultimately, we live out this affirmation by living out all the other six practices of our Fellowship, but this is the integrating principle which draws all the practices together into an integrated intention.
We live out our Torah in an integrated fashion on every level of our being, including our inner awareness (Lev), our physical being combined with our inner awareness (Nefesh) and our external and social impact which we affect with our entire being (Me’od). These three aspects of ourselves exist in interconnected concentric circles, with the Lev inside our Nefesh and our Nefesh inside our Me’od. That is to say, our impact on the world includes whatever we do with our body and soul, and our body and soul includes our inner awareness. Whatever goes on for us on one level affects what goes on for us on all other levels of our existence, as ultimately we are each integrated beings spiritually, physically and socially. We are called upon therefore to direct our energies on each level towards unity and integrity in the form of inner and outer Shalom (Harmony and Wholeness).