Shema Yisrael (Hebrew: שמע ישראל; "Hear, [O] Israel") are the opening two words of a passage in the Torah, which is used as a focal point for Jewish prayer services, and encapsulates the monotheistic message of Judaism. It is considered to be one of the most important prayers in Judaism, and twice-daily recitation of it is a mitzvah.

It is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5.

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength"

It is also a very important concept in Christianity: when asked what the most important commandment in Christianity was, Jesus replied that this was the greatest commandment [1][2], and that, together with The Golden Rule, they formed the summation of Christian teaching.


  1. Mark 12:28-34 (NIV) Accessed July 2, 2007
  2. Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV) Accessed July 2, 2007
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