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Why do we cover our eyes when we recite the “shema”?

by Rabbi Moshe Miller

  

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It is customary to cover the eyes with the right hand when reciting the first verse of the Shema – “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.”


When reciting this all-important declaration of faith, we cover our eyes to be able to focus and concentrate properly, without being distracted by any surrounding goings-on.1

Footnotes

  • 1. Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 61:5.

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Shema
The most fundamental Jewish prayer, recited twice daily. This prayer, of Biblical origin, professes the belief in G-d's absolute unity.