75 words for 75 years of Israel – Echad/One

In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, Israel365 is excited to launch a new series of essays that will unlock the secrets of the Hebrew Bible!

Excerpted from Rabbi Akiva Gersh’s forthcoming book, 75 Hebrew Words You Need to Understand the Bible (available soon!) these essays illuminate the connection between related Hebrew words, revealing Biblical secrets only accessible through Hebrew.

Enjoy the series – and happy 75th birthday to the State of Israel!





“Hear, O Israel! Hashem is our God, Hashem is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

שמע ישראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה  אחד.

“And make fifty gold clasps, and couple the cloths to one another with the clasps, so that the Tabernacle becomes one.” (Exodus 26:6)

ועשית חמשים קרסי זהב וחברת את היריעת אשה אל אחתה בקרסים והיה המשכן אחד.

Echad, “one,” appears in one of the most powerful verses in all of the Bible: “Hear, O Israel! Hashem is our God, Hashem is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4). This verse succinctly expresses our faith in one God, and so we are commanded to recite it twice each day, once in the morning and once at night.

The Hebrew word achdut, “unity,” is based on the word echad. The sages teach that when the children of Israel stood at the bottom of Mount Sinai they achieved extraordinary achdut, joining together “like one person with one heart.” In the merit of this unity, they received the Bible from God.

Unity, however, can also be used for negative purposes. At the beginning of the story of the Tower of Babel, we read “Everyone on earth had the same language and the same words” (Genesis 11:1). Commendably, the people of that generation joined together as one, but then tragically worked together to rebel against their Creator. Mankind must unite, but only to perform God’s will. 

Echad also appears in the Bible’s description of the building of the Tabernacle. After the people brought all the necessary materials and constructed the many parts of the building, God commanded them to weave huge pieces of cloth to surround the Tabernacle from all sides in order that the “Tabernacle becomes one.This is not merely a technical description of the structure of the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was a microcosm of God’s world. By binding the Tabernacle together so it became one, the children of Israel symbolically affirmed God’s oneness and unity in the world.

The Israel Bible Team


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