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Unread 08-02-2012, 07:01 PM   #2
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In the Shema, we declare, “You shall love Hashem bechol levavcha—with all your heart.”[1] Although normally translated in the singular, the literal meaning of bechol levavcha is “with all your hearts,” in the plural. What is the significance of this unusual expression?

Our sages explain[2] that this alludes to the two inclinations within—the good inclination and the evil inclination. The Jew should come to love Hashem not only with the good inclination, but even with the evil inclination. This is the goal of this part of Tefillah.

To explain, in the terminology of Chassidus, the good inclination is the Divine Soul, while the evil inclination is the Bestial Soul. In Shema we must arouse not only the Divine Soul to love of Hashem, but even the Bestial Soul.

Thus, our sages say that the prayers compensate for the sacrifices.[3] Just as we would offer a physical animal up on the altar, so are we charged with “offering up” our inner animal, our Bestial Soul, to Hashem in Tefillah. This “offering” takes place in Shema, and is effected when we reach the goal of Tefillah—exciting the Bestial Soul with love of Hashem.

[1] Devarim 6:5.
[2] Berachos 26a-b.
[3] Ibid. 26b.
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