One God, One Legacy

December 28, 2023

When Jacob neared the end of his life, he called his children together to impart his blessings and share with them his final thoughts. As he gathered them he spoke with prophetic intent, “Come together that I may tell you what is to befall you in days to come” (Genesis 49:1). The sages interpret this gathering as more than a mere farewell. They explain that Jacob had hoped to unveil to his children the secrets of the end of days. However, the Divine Presence departed from him at that moment, and with it, the prophetic knowledge of that time.

The Fears of a Father, the Response of Children

Jacob was concerned that the departure of the Divine Presence was the result of a lack of faith among his children, similar to how Abraham and Isaac each had a son who deviated from the path of monotheism. However, his concerns were dispelled when his children collectively affirmed their faith, declaring, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4). This wasn’t just reassurance to their father; it was a declaration of their unwavering belief in God’s oneness, a belief that they each passed down to their children and that courses through the veins of every Jew.

The Oneness of God: Our Guiding Light

This declaration continues to be a fundamental part of our faith. It is the heartbeat of Jewish life. It reminds us that God is not just the God of the heavens but the One who is intimately involved in every aspect of our lives. This oneness is our strength, our guiding light in a world often shrouded in darkness.

The Power of Ultimate Self-Sacrifice

Rabbi Reuven Saason teaches that it is this steadfast belief in the oneness of God that has historically been the catalyst for acts of profound self-sacrifice on the part of the Jewish people. This belief has sustained us through the darkest of times, inspiring acts of courage and sacrifice that defy human understanding. Our soldiers, our defenders of the Land of Israel, carry this belief into every battle, selflessly defending our people, our land and God’s honor. It is the faith of our forefathers, a faith that assures us of our eventual redemption.

Unity: Beyond the Surface

This belief in God’s oneness is also what unites us, the Jewish People, beyond superficial differences. It is a unity that is soul-deep. When we look past the external, beyond politics and varying levels of religious observance, we find that at our core, we are one. We are united by our shared faith in the one and only God of Israel.

A Living Legacy

The declaration by Jacob’s children in his final moments of life is their living legacy. It is a call to each of us to live our lives anchored in the belief of God’s oneness. It challenges us to see past the divisions and to find unity in our shared faith. It rouses us to fight and sacrifice for the sake of His name, His honor and His people. It continues to guide us, inspire us, and unite us.

In the merit of our unwavering belief in God’s oneness, may we merit to see the fulfillment of Jacob’s unrevealed prophecy. May we witness the coming of the Messiah speedily in our days, united as one people, with one heart, under the banner of God’s eternal oneness.

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

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