The opening lines of the Sh’ma (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) are among the most famous, and the most important, in Jewish liturgy. Drawing on comparisons to the writings of the ancient Near East, Benjamin Sommer attempts to explain them in their historical context. (Interview by Joanne Palmer.)
What, Exactly, Does “Hear O Israel the Lord Is Our God the Lord Is One” Mean?
The Sinister Attacks on Israeli Offers of Aid to Lebanon
“The only encouraging thing” about the deadly explosion in Beirut, wrote the former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt on Twitter, “is that even Israel has been quick in offering humanitarian aid.” Had Bildt been better informed, he might have known that there is nothing new or unusual about the Jewish state offering humanitarian assistance to its Arab neighbors—or to more far-flung nations. Yet his bizarre comment was less hostile than the reactions of those who rushed to dismiss the offer as a meaningless public-relations stunt. Lahav Harkov writes: