Va'etchanan - in The Liturgy

In The Liturgy

The Torah reader and the congregation recite Deuteronomy 4:4 immediately before the Torah reading, signifying how learning the Torah embodies remaining steadfast to God. (Reuven Hammer. Or Hadash: A Commentary on Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals, 141. New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, 2003. ISBN 0-916219-20-8.)

The Passover Haggadah, in the magid section of the Seder, quotes Deuteronomy 4:34 to elucidate the term “great terribleness” in Deuteronomy 26:8, interpreting the “great terribleness” to mean the revelation of the Shekhinah or Divine Presence. (Menachem Davis. The Interlinear Haggadah: The Passover Haggadah, with an Interlinear Translation, Instructions and Comments, 49–50. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-57819-064-9Joseph Tabory. JPS Commentary on the Haggadah: Historical Introduction, Translation, and Commentary, 94. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2008. ISBN 978-0-8276-0858-0.)

The Lekhah Dodi liturgical poem of the Kabbalat Shabbat prayer service quotes both the commandment of Exodus 20:7 (Exodus 20:8 in the NJPS) to “remember” the Sabbath and the commandment of Deuteronomy 5:11 (Deuteronomy 5:12 in NJPS) to “keep” or “observe” the Sabbath, saying that they “were uttered as one by our Creator.” (Hammer, Or Hadash, at 21.)

The verses of the Shema and V'ahavta in Deuteronomy 6:4–9 constitute a central prayer in Jewish prayer services. Jews combine Deuteronomy 6:4–9 along with Deuteronomy 11:13–21, and Numbers 15:37–41 to form the core of K’riat Shema, recited in the evening (Ma’ariv) and morning (Shacharit) prayer services. (Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals, 30–31, 112–13, 282–83. New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, 2007. ISBN 0-916219-13-5.) A shorter version of the Shema, composed of simply Deuteronomy 6:4, appears in the Torah service (Seder K’riat HaTorah) and the Kedushah of the Musaf service for Shabbat. (Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals, at 141, 157.) And the Shema and for some the V'ahavta, Deuteronomy 6:4–9, are among the first prayers said upon arising and form the central prayer of the bedtime Shema, said just before retiring for sleep. (Hammer, Or Hadash, at 66. Menachem Davis. The Schottenstein Edition Siddur for Weekdays with an Interlinear Translation, 35–36, 416–17. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2002. ISBN 1-57819-686-8.)

Reuven Hammer noted that Mishnah Tamid 5:1 recorded what was in effect the first siddur, as a part of which priests daily recited the Ten Commandments and Deuteronomy 6:4–9. (Reuven Hammer. Entering Jewish Prayer: A Guide to Personal Devotion and the Worship Service, 76–82. New York: Schocken, 1995. ISBN 0-8052-1022-9.)

The commandment to love God in Deuteronomy 6:5 is reflected in Psalm 97:10, which is in turn one of the six Psalms recited at the beginning of the Kabbalat Shabbat prayer service. (Hammer, Or Hadash, at 18.)

The “love” of God that Deuteronomy 6:5 urges finds reflection in the characterization of God as the “Beloved” in the Lekhah Dodi liturgical poem of the Kabbalat Shabbat prayer service. (Hammer, Or Hadash, at 21.)

And the leshem yihud prayer before putting on tefillin quotes the commandment of Deuteronomy 6:8. (Menachem Davis. The Schottenstein Edition Siddur for Weekdays with an Interlinear Translation, 6. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2002. ISBN 1-57819-686-8.)

In the magid section, the Haggadah combines Deuteronomy 6:21 and 5:14 in the first answer to the Four Questions (Ma Nishtana) in the magid section of the Seder. (Tabory, at 84.) And shortly thereafter, the Haggadah quotes Deuteronomy 6:20 to provide the question of the wise son, also in the magid section. (Tabory, at 86; Davis, at 29.)

Also in the magid section, the Haggadah quotes Deuteronomy 6:23 — emphasizing the word “us” (otanu) — for the proposition that God did not redeem the ancestral Israelites alone, but also the current generation of Jews with them. (Davis, at 60; Tabory, at 100.)

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