World-Wide 'Shema' Wednesday By Hershel Cummins
An appeal has been made to every Jew around the world to simultaneously read the first lines of the prayer known as Shema: 'Hear O Israel, The L-rd is Our G-d, the L-rd is One' on Wednesday.Well, which is it? Do the organizers want God to undermine Sharon and cancel his plan? Or do they want the withdrawal to go forward, but peacefully and smoothly?
The prayer is intended to ask for Divine help to prevent violence toward the planned expulsion of Jewish residents from Gaza and northern Samaria and for Divine intervention to cancel the plan. The prayer is organized under the motto, United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
The prayer will be recited at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem and at 2 p.m. in New York.
Again, Lincoln comes to mind: "Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other." The prayers of both won't be answered. That of neither can be answered fully. "The Almighty has His own purposes."
I'm not certain that Sharon's plan is right; I'm not certain that his plan is wrong. But I am resolved to it, and therefore praying that it goes well. For this reason, I'll be saying Shma at 2 PM.
UPDATE: I am having second thoughts about the whole thing... though I want to be part of a great moment of Jewish solidarity, (I'm a sentimental sucker about these things) the idea of praying al tenai (on condition) strikes me as vulgar.
Do I really want to be, in a sense, saying "OK God: I said the magic words at 2 PM now pay up!"
That's gross, right?
UPDATE II: Made up my mind. Using the Shema as if it was a magic spell, with the power to compel an response from God is philosophically unsound, and theologically vulgar. At 2PM I'll be saying my blorange prayer from yesterday, instead.
A note ont he word vulgar:
vulgar: Deficient in taste, delicacy, or refinement.
That's the perfect description for a person who thinks he can get the melech malchay hamilochim to do his bidding simply by saying a few magic words.