Sunday, March 20, 2005

Understanding Davening: שמע ישראל

The accepted translation is "Hear O Israel". R' Soloveitchik pointed out that based on the gemara in ברכות י"ג this is not correct. The gemara brings down a dispute between Rebbe and the חכמים about what is learned out from the word שמע. According to Rebbe we learn out that you need to hear what you say, but according to the חכמים we learn out that שמע can be said in any language. We pasken like חכמים and therefore שמע doesn't mean "hear" that was rebbe's understanding, however according to the חכמים it should be translated as "understand".

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