3 Paragraphs of the Shema

B. Next comes the actual recitation of the Shema itself, which consists of three paragraphs, each a selection from the Torah:
  • 1.The first paragraph (Deut. 6:4-9) begins with the profession of faith "Shema Yisrael ..." (see above) and continues to define our relationship with G-d. "You shall love G-d with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your resources." We are instructed to engrave G-d's commandments upon our hearts, teach them to our children, speak of them at all times, bind them as a sign upon our arms and on our heads above the eyes (tefillin), and write them on the doorposts of our homes and gates (mezuzah).

  • 2.In the second paragraph (Deut. 11:13-21), G-d promises us prosperity if we follow his commandments. G-d also warns us of the consequences if we turn our hearts away from Him. And, once again, G-d reminds us that if we keep His commandments in our hearts and minds at all times, we will attain heaven on earth.

  • 3.In the third paragraph (Num. 15:37-41), we are commanded to wear tzitzit (fringes on the corners of our garments). These fringes serve as a reminder to us of G-d's commandments and the need to observe them and thereby become holy. It further reminds us of G-d's role in redeeming the Jewish people from Egypt, thereby affirming His role as our G-d.