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A liturgical prayer consisting of three Scriptural passages (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37-41) recited twice daily by observant Jews, especially Jewish men, to affirm their faith.

[Hebrew šəma', hear (the first word of Deuteronomy 6:4), imperative of šāma', to hear; see šmʕ in Semitic roots.]


1. (Judaism) the central statement of Jewish belief, the sentence "Hear, O Israel: the Lord is your God; the Lord is One" (Deuteronomy 6:4)
2. (Judaism) the section of the liturgy consisting of this and related biblical passages, Deuteronomy 6:4–9 and 11:13–21 and Numbers 15:37–41, recited in the morning and evening prayers and on retiring at night
[Hebrew, literally: hear]


(ʃəˈmɑ, ʃmɑ)

Judaism. an important liturgical prayer recited at the morning and evening services, affirming the Jewish people's faith in God.
[< Hebrew shəma‘ listen!]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Shema - a liturgical prayer (considered to be the essence of Jewish religion) that is recited at least twice daily by adult Jewish males to declare their faith; "as soon as Leonard learned to talk he was taught to recite the first words of the Shema, the creed of Judaism which originated on Sinai with Moses and is recited daily"
prayer - a fixed text used in praying
References in periodicals archive ?
He played a recording of her singing the Shema Yisrael prayer at the Mount two months ago, and said "we waited two months for you.
The Jew in response will recite the Shema (Hebrew, "hear"): Shema Yisrael, Yahweh elohenu echad ("Hear oh Israel, Yahweh our God is one
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whoever you are with at that time - join in solidarity with the families of the victims of terror and the Jewish people in observing 60 seconds of silence, then reciting the six words of Shema Yisrael (in English, 11 words of the Shema) 'Hear O Israel, The Lord our God, The Lord is one'.