According to Mark 12:29–31, Jesus of Nazareth regarded the opening exhortation of the Shema to be the first of his two greatest commandments, which he connected with the second (based on Leviticus 19:18b): The first commandment reads, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God."
Jesus' statement that this is the greatest commandment reflects the importance he attached to it. In fact, he went so far as to say that unless you love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, you will not see him after you die.
The early Christians believed that loving God with all your heart, soul, and strength is exactly what Jesus taught us to do. So, they prayed the Shema - the Jewish prayer for seeking divine guidance - every morning before starting their day. It seems reasonable to assume that since Jesus taught his followers to pray the Shema, he would have joined in its prayers.
However, the New Testament doesn't describe Jesus praying the Shema. Instead, it says that we should pray this prayer because it teaches us to love God with our whole being. This distinction between praying the Shema and learning how to live by it comes up again in Luke 11:1–4 when Jesus tells a story about two men who built their houses on the sand. One man's house collapsed into the sea while the other was able to withstand the waves until he died.
"Hear", the Jewish confession of faith consisting of three scripture verses (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37-41) that are a vital element of the evening and morning rituals, coupled with corresponding prayers. It is important to understand that while the term "Shema" means "listen" in Hebrew, it is not intended as a command for humans to listen to God but rather as a declaration of belief in Him.
The first part of the Shema - "Hear O Israel..." - is said by Jews before they study the Torah, when putting on tefillin, or when saying the Shabbat prayer. The second part - "...the Lord our God...walk in His ways..." - is said daily by most observant Jews as a reminder that God is the source of authority over all aspects of their lives, including politics and religion.
In addition to these public declarations of faith, many Orthodox Jews add a third clause at the end of the Shema: "and teach us to fear Yahweh." They do so after reading portions of the Prophets or during the recitation of the Priestly Blessing before meals. This addition is meant to remind them of God's commandments and instructions through His prophets at all times, not just when studying the Torah.
The Shema is the first statement of faith in Judaism.
The Shema represents the core of Judaism, that God must always be loved and followed. You must love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, and strength. Keep these words in your heart that I am instructing you to keep today. They are called the "Ten Commandments" because they contain all that is necessary for human life to have meaning and purpose.
The first command is unique to Moses. It is a summary of the first five commandments and does not refer directly to any particular act. However, it does serve as an overview for the rest of the Ten Commandments.
The second command is "You shall have no other gods before me." In other words, you should not worship anything or anyone other than me. This command also serves as an overview for the next nine commands.
The third command is "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God...." Focusing on his divine nature and ignoring his demands is wrong. Remember that he is both merciful and just at the same time. Misusing his name means using his power unjustly or focusing on something else besides him.
According to the Shema, God is personal and expects Jews to adore Him with all of their being. It also states that Jews should follow his directions and let their love be shown. Because the Shema is such a significant prayer, many Jews will repeat it every morning and evening.