- a liturgical prayer, prominent in Jewish history and tradition, that is recited daily at the morning and evening services and expresses the Jewish people’s ardent faith in and love of God.
- the central statement of Jewish belief, the sentence “Hear, O Israel: the Lord is your God; the Lord is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4)
- the section of the liturgy consisting of this and related biblical passages, Deuteronomy 6:4–9 and 11:13–21 and Numbers 15:37–41, recited in the morning and evening prayers and on retiring at night
from Hebrew shema “hear!,” imperative of shama “to hear.” First word of Deut. vi:4.