Jewish Journal

A Moment in Time: The Shema – A Reflection on the Florida School Shooting

Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad.
Listen up, those who wrestle with God, Adonai is our God, Adonai is One.
And you shall love Adonai Your God
Every human being is in God’s image.  We love God by loving people.
With all your heart,
Every heart-beat reminds us that life can start and stop at any given moment in time.
With all your soul,
The soul You have given us, oh God, is pure.  We make choices that can deepen goodness.  And we make choices that can expose inhumanity.
And with all your might.
It can take an act of incredible might and courage to pierce the plague of intellectual darkness that has prevented our nation from doing something about gun violence.
And these words that I command you today.
Today!  Not next week.  Not next year.
Shall be upon your heart.
Again, every heart-beat reminds us that life can start and stop at any given
moment in time.
And you shall teach them over and over to your children.
How many children will never hear words again because they were murdered by guns?
And you shall speak of them when you sit in your house.
How many people stored guns without protective locks in their houses?
When you walk along the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Do we count our blessings when we lie down?  Do we wake up with a sense of purpose to help bring goodness into the world?
And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hands.
Imagine, just image what our hands can do if we join together to make a difference.
And they shall be a symbol before your eyes.
What can our world look like if nation stops lifting sword against nation?  If human stops pointing guns to another human?
And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.
We can’t shut out the realities of the world in our homes and in our houses of prayer.  The mezuzah is like a post-it note, reminding us that we have a mission.
Be mindful of My Mitzvot – and do them.  
Yes, we should be mindful and offer prayers.  But we should also take action and make a difference.
And be Holy unto your God.
With love and shalom,


Rabbi Zach Shapiro

A change in perspective can shift the focus of our day – and even our lives.  We have an opportunity to harness “a moment in time,” allowing our souls to be both grounded and lifted.  This blog shows how the simplest of daily experiences can become the most meaningful of life’s blessings.  All it takes is a moment in time.
Rabbi Zach Shapiro is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Akiba, a Reform Jewish Congregation in Culver City, CA.  He earned his B.A. in Spanish from Colby College in 1992, and his M.A.H.L. from HUC-JIR in 1996.  He was ordained from HUC-JIR – Cincinnati, in 1997.