In this lesson, Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz explores two statements in the Mishna about the Shema and the Talmudic discussions that follow from them. These discussions shed light on meaning behind the order of the paragraphs of the Shema and the spirit in which one should recite the Shema according to the sages of Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai. Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz shows how the unique character of the rabbis in the discussions shapes their opinions about various issues in Jewish law.
As can be seen in the examination of these two sections of Talmud, the story of Jewish law has emerged through discussion, learning and storytelling. Rabbi Steinsaltz shows how, through the broad application of the texts of the Mishna and Talmud and a deeper understanding of the meaning behind them, these texts continue to have meaningful impact throughout the generations.