A Call For Attentiveness

This sheet on Deuteronomy 6 was written by Gabriel Wolff for 929 and can also be found here

There are always new layers of meaning and emotion waiting to be discovered in the Shema - the centrepiece of Jewish prayer. Beyond the obvious religious importance of this declaration of faith, the Shema also offers insight into philosophical elements shared by Jews around the world. This calligraphy artwork is inspired by the first word of the prayer: ‘Hear!’

To me, the Shema is above all a call for attentiveness. If we listen well enough, we will sense the oneness of the world and God. This Oneness, which lies far beyond the grasp of rational understanding, can only reveal itself through an immediate perception of the senses. In this piece I seek to convey this decree to listen and to perceive this oneness by using the three Hebrew letters comprising the word ‘Shema’. The letters stretch upwards, connecting heaven and earth, divine and mundane, pointing out the interconnection of everything that exists, at a hearing’s reach.

Gabriel Wolff is a Hebrew calligrapher.

929 is the number of chapters in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, the formative text of the Jewish heritage. It is also the name of a cutting-edge project dedicated to creating a global Jewish conversation anchored in the Hebrew Bible. 929 English invites Jews everywhere to read and study Tanakh, one chapter a day, Sunday through Thursday together with a website with creative readings and pluralistic interpretations, including audio and video, by a wide range of writers, artists, rabbis, educators, scholars, students and more. As an outgrowth of the web-based platform, 929 English also offers classes, pop-up lectures, events and across North America. We invite you to learn along with us and be part of our dynamic community.

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