Shema – Listen  – Deuteronomy 6:4-9

A few years ago, the famous Jewish director Steven Spielberg taught a lesson about the Shema, to an “Inside Actors Studio” audience. Here’s his lesson: “I was taught by my mom and dad that in Judaism the most important prayer is Shema Yisrael, ‘Hear Oh Israel, the Lord our God the Lord is One.’ And it was taught to me in childhood that the most important thing I could do is to listen. And that wasn’t a way for a parent to say, ‘I know more than you; I’m the boss; I’ll do all the talking…’ It wasn’t that way at all. They meant, listen to yourself, listen to the little whispers that we don’t want to hear because they’re too soft. We somehow tend to listen to the shout, not the whisper. And so listening – carefully – is what I was taught all my life. It’s just that when people don’t listen, it’s not that they don’t learn. They just deny themselves tremendous opportunities and glorious choices…”

This week’s Mitzvah is to listen to yourself at the end of each day. Listen to your soul reflecting on your thoughts, your dreams, your hopes, your plans, your disappointments, your achievements, your pain, and your happiness. Take time every day to do this, preferably writing these reflections in a journal. Either before or after reflecting, chant the Shema.

May you have a week of blessings as you learn more about yourself and a Shabbat of peace.