graphic zera-im




Zera'im is the first order of the Mishna which opens with the Shema.
The Shema is the most holy of prayers affirming only one true God.
(Tifereth Israel, Columbus, Ohio)

Excerpt from Stained Glass Quarterly article dated Fall 1989

The first Seder (order) of the Mishna, Zera'im (seeds) deals with the agricultural laws in both their religious and social aspects. The most important theme of Zera'im is set down in Tractate Berakoth, dealing with the prayer and worship of Israel. In the window representing Zera'im, the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4) is written in Hebrew across the upper panel: "Hear, O Yisrael: The Lord our God, the Lord is One." It is in this prayer, that the opening theme of the tractate is formed. The Shema, ("Hear") is an affirmation of Israel's faith in God's ownership of the world (through ethical monotheisms) as well as an expression of devotion and love.

Zera'im is designated in the Talmud by the term Emunah, which signifies both faith in God and faithfulness toward one's fellow human being. Symbolized in the lower panel of this window is the Tractate Pe'ah -- the laws of the corners of the fields -- which must be left to the poor. In following the laws of the tractate, one objectively acknowledges faith in divine ownership of the earth. In doing so, we faithfully carry out our social obligations according to Talmudic Law. "The man of faith will carry out these observances with faithfulness, whilst the faithfulness with which he performs his duties is a test of his faith." Divine ownership of the earth is also expressed as, "...all God's children are entitled to a share in the land, as their common heritage."




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