Now It Says Echad

By Rabbi Dovid Markel


Once, there was a Chassidic gathering at the home of Rabbi Shmuel Betzalel Sheftel (Rashbatz). At a certain point during the gathering, the food that had been prepared ran out. Not wishing to end the gathering because of a lack of food, Rabbi Shmuel Betzalel instructed those in attendance to take the sheep that was in the courtyard, slaughter it, and bring its meat to the gathering.

Indeed this is what they did and the chassidim continued to speak words of Chassidus and inspire one another the rest of the night.

The next morning, when Rabbi Shmuel Betzalel’s wife awoke she was in a state of turmoil. Not seeing the sheep—that had supplied them with milk—she began screaming, upset that someone had stolen their only source of livelihood.

Rabbi Shmuel comforted her saying, “Don’t worry, the sheep is still here. The only difference is that yesterday the sheep said ‘meh’ and today the sheep exclaims ‘Shema Yisroel, HaShem Elokeinu, HaShem echad!’”

In truth, this is the lesson that we are to incorporate into our daily lives. We are to take the physicality in the world around us—our sheep—and transform it. Instead of our world being that of corporeality it should instead express the unity of the Almighty. All that we do, should be permeated with the oneness of G-d.   

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