קריאת שמע | The Recitation of the Shema, translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

שְׁמַ֖ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל
 
יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ
יְהוָ֥ה ׀ אֶחָֽד׃ (דברים ו:ד)
Listen, you, Yisrael person,
(say your own name here)
Yah who Is, is our God,
Yah who Is, Is One, Unique,
All there Is.[1]Deuteronomy 6:4

בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ
לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד׃ (משנה יומא ג:ח, פסחים נו א, מדרש תנחומא – בובר קדושים ו׳, ועוד)
Through time and space,
Your glory shines, Majestic One.[2]Mishna Yoma 3:8, Pesachim 56a, Bereishit Rabba 98:3, Midrash Tanchuma Buber Kedoshim 6, et al

וְאָ֣הַבְתָּ֔ אֵ֖ת יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ
בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֥
וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ֖
וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽךָ׃ (דברים ו:ה)
Love Yah, who is your God,
In what your heart is,
In what you aspire to,
In what you have made your own.[3]Deuteronomy 6:5

וְהָי֞וּ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֗לֶּה
אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָנֹכִ֧י מְצַוְּךָ֛ הַיּ֖וֹם
עַל־לְבָבֶֽךָ׃
וְשִׁנַּנְתָּ֣ם
לְבָנֶ֔יךָ
וְדִבַּרְתָּ֖ בָּ֑ם
בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ֤ בְּבֵיתֶ֙ךָ֙
וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ֣ בַדֶּ֔רֶךְ
וּֽבְשָׁכְבְּךָ֖
וּבְקוּמֶֽךָ׃
וּקְשַׁרְתָּ֥ם לְא֖וֹת עַל־יָדֶ֑ךָ
וְהָי֥וּ לְטֹטָפֹ֖ת בֵּ֥ין עֵינֶֽיךָ׃
וּכְתַבְתָּ֛ם עַל־מְזוּזֹ֥ת בֵּיתֶ֖ךָ
וּבִשְׁעָרֶֽיךָ׃ (דברים ו:ו-ט)
May these values
Which I connect with your life,
Be implanted in your feelings.
May they become the norm
For your children:
Keep talking with them
In the privacy of your home,
And on the errands you run.
May they help you relax.
And activate you to be productive.
Display them visibly on your arm.
Let them focus your attention.
See them at all transitions at home,
And in your environment.[4]Deuteronomy 6:6-9

וְהָיָ֗ה
אִם־שָׁמֹ֤עַ
תִּשְׁמְעוּ֙ אֶל־מִצְוֺתַ֔י
אֲשֶׁ֧ר אָנֹכִ֛י מְצַוֶּ֥ה אֶתְכֶ֖ם הַיּ֑וֹם
לְאַהֲבָ֞ה אֶת־יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶם֙
וּלְעָבְד֔וֹ
בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶ֖ם וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁכֶֽם׃
וְנָתַתִּ֧י מְטַֽר־אַרְצְכֶ֛ם
בְּעִתּ֖וֹ
יוֹרֶ֣ה וּמַלְק֑וֹשׁ
וְאָסַפְתָּ֣ דְגָנֶ֔ךָ
וְתִֽירֹשְׁךָ֖ וְיִצְהָרֶֽךָ׃
וְנָתַתִּ֛י עֵ֥שֶׂב בְּשָׂדְךָ֖
לִבְהֶמְתֶּ֑ךָ
וְאָכַלְתָּ֖ וְשָׂבָֽעְתָּ׃ (דברים יא:יג-טו)
How good it will be
When you really listen,
And hear my directions,
Which I give to you today,
For loving Yah, who is your God,
And to act godly
With feeling and inspiration.
Your earthly needs will be met
At the right time,
Appropriate to the season.
You will reap what you planted
For your delight and health.
Also, your animals
Will have ample feed.
All of you will eat and be content.[5]Deuteronomy 11:13-15

הִשָּֽׁמְר֣וּ לָכֶ֔ם
פֶּ֥ן יִפְתֶּ֖ה לְבַבְכֶ֑ם
וְסַרְתֶּ֗ם
וַעֲבַדְתֶּם֙
אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֔ים
וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתֶ֖ם לָהֶֽם׃
וְחָרָ֨ה
אַף־יְהוָ֜ה בָּכֶ֗ם
וְעָצַ֤ר אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙
וְלֹֽא־יִהְיֶ֣ה מָטָ֔ר
וְהָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה לֹ֥א תִתֵּ֖ן אֶת־יְבוּלָ֑הּ
וַאֲבַדְתֶּ֣ם מְהֵרָ֗ה
מֵעַל֙ הָאָ֣רֶץ
הַטֹּבָ֔ה
אֲשֶׁ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה נֹתֵ֥ן לָכֶֽם׃ (דברים יא:טז-יז)
Be careful — watch out!
Don’t let your cravings delude you;
Don’t become alienated;
Don’t let your cravings
Become your gods;
Don’t debase yourself to them,
Because the God-sense within you
Will become distorted.
Heaven will be shut to you,
Grace will not descend,
Earth will not yield her produce.
Your rushing will destroy you!
And Earth will not be able
To recover her good balance
In which God’s gifts manifest.[6]Deuteronomy 11:16-17

וְשַׂמְתֶּם֙
אֶת־דְּבָרַ֣י אֵ֔לֶּה
עַל־לְבַבְכֶ֖ם וְעַֽל־נַפְשְׁכֶ֑ם
וּקְשַׁרְתֶּ֨ם אֹתָ֤ם לְאוֹת֙ עַל־יֶדְכֶ֔ם
וְהָי֥וּ לְטוֹטָפֹ֖ת בֵּ֥ין עֵינֵיכֶֽם׃
וְלִמַּדְתֶּ֥ם אֹתָ֛ם אֶת־בְּנֵיכֶ֖ם
לְדַבֵּ֣ר בָּ֑ם
בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ֤ בְּבֵיתֶ֙ךָ֙
וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ֣ בַדֶּ֔רֶךְ
וּֽבְשָׁכְבְּךָ֖
וּבְקוּמֶֽךָ׃
וּכְתַבְתָּ֛ם
עַל־מְזוּז֥וֹת
בֵּיתֶ֖ךָ וּבִשְׁעָרֶֽיךָ׃
לְמַ֨עַן יִרְבּ֤וּ יְמֵיכֶם֙
וִימֵ֣י בְנֵיכֶ֔ם
עַ֚ל הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה
אֲשֶׁ֨ר נִשְׁבַּ֧ע יְהוָ֛ה
לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶ֖ם לָתֵ֣ת לָהֶ֑ם
כִּימֵ֥י הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם
עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (דברים יא:יח-כא)
May these values of Mine,
Reside in your
Feelings and aspirations:
Marking what you produce,
Guiding what you perceive.
Teach them to your children
So that they are instructed
How to make their homes sacred;
And how they deal with traffic.
Even when you are depressed,
And when you are elated.
Mark your entrances and exits
With them,
So you will be more aware.
Then, you and your children,
And their children,
Will live out on earth
That divine promise
Given to your ancestors
To live heavenly days
Right here on this earth.[7]Deuteronomy 11:18-21

וַיֹּ֥אמֶר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר׃
דַּבֵּ֞ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ וְאָמַרְתָּ֣ אֲלֵהֶ֔ם
וְעָשׂ֨וּ לָהֶ֥ם צִיצִ֛ת
עַל־כַּנְפֵ֥י בִגְדֵיהֶ֖ם
לְדֹרֹתָ֑ם
וְנָֽתְנ֛וּ
עַל־צִיצִ֥ת הַכָּנָ֖ף
פְּתִ֥יל תְּכֵֽלֶת׃
וְהָיָ֣ה לָכֶם֮ לְצִיצִת֒
וּרְאִיתֶ֣ם
אֹת֗וֹ
וּזְכַרְתֶּם֙ אֶת־כָּל־מִצְוֺ֣ת
יְהוָ֔ה
וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֹתָ֑ם
וְלֹֽא־תָתֻ֜רוּ
אַחֲרֵ֤י לְבַבְכֶם֙
וְאַחֲרֵ֣י עֵֽינֵיכֶ֔ם
אֲשֶׁר־אַתֶּ֥ם
זֹנִ֖ים אַחֲרֵיהֶֽם׃
לְמַ֣עַן
תִּזְכְּר֔וּ
וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֶת־כָּל־מִצְוֺתָ֑י
וִהְיִיתֶ֥ם קְדֹשִׁ֖ים
לֵֽאלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃
 
אֲנִ֞י יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֗ם
אֲשֶׁ֨ר הוֹצֵ֤אתִי אֶתְכֶם֙
מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם
לִהְי֥וֹת לָכֶ֖ם לֵאלֹהִ֑ים
אֲנִ֖י יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃ (במדבר טו:לז-מא)
אֱמֶת (ברכות יד ב)
Yah who Is, said to Moses,
“Speak, telling the Israel folks
To make tzitzit
On the corners of their garments,
So they will have generations
To follow them.
On each tzitzit tassel,
Let them set a blue thread.
These tzitzit are for your benefit!
Glance at them.
And in your seeing,
Remember all the other directives
Of Yah, who Is,
And act on them!
This way,
You will not be led astray,
Craving to see and want,
And then prostitute yourself
For your cravings.
This way
You will be mindful
To actualize my directions
For becoming dedicated
to your God;
To be aware
That I Am Yah, Who is your God,
Who is the one who freed you
From oppression,
in order to God you.
I am Yah, who is your God.”[8]Numbers 15:37-41
That is the truth![9]Cf. Jeremiah 10:10, Berakhot 14b


Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of the Shema in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his English translation side-by-side with the Hebrew verses comprising the Shema. –Aharon N. Varady

Source

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Deuteronomy 6:4
  2. Mishna Yoma 3:8, Pesachim 56a, Bereishit Rabba 98:3, Midrash Tanchuma Buber Kedoshim 6, et al
  3. Deuteronomy 6:5
  4. Deuteronomy 6:6-9
  5. Deuteronomy 11:13-15
  6. Deuteronomy 11:16-17
  7. Deuteronomy 11:18-21
  8. Numbers 15:37-41
  9. Cf. Jeremiah 10:10, Berakhot 14b

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