Shema Yisrael -The Importance of Oneness - Echad
Deuteronomy 6 v 4
'HEAR O Yisrael : YaHuWaH our Elohim, YaHuWaH is one.'
John 10 v 30
'I and the Father are one.'
Many people read these two verses in scripture and are sometimes confused by their meaning, thinking that the word 'one' is talking about the number one. If we look into the Hebrew meaning of this word the meaning becomes much clearer.
The Hebrew word used here is the word 'echad.' It is made up of three Hebrew characters: an aleph, a chet, and a dalet (from right to left).
In Bible times, Hebrew was primarily a pictographic language. It would have looked something like this:
The aleph can be seen as the head of an ox. It represents strength and power, or the “head” of a group of people.
The chet can be seen as a wall. It represents separation—to be “outside” of something, or to be set apart.
The dalet can be seen as a door. This is an interesting letter because in ancient Hebrew culture, to pass through a doorway was an act of coming into covenant with the leader of the home. So not only does the dalet represent ‘a way in,’ but it’s considered a way into covenant with someone.
If we put it all together, when this word was originally used it would have been
“the strength of someone coming into covenant.”
What an amazing picture. This didn’t quite make it into our modern English translations, but it is important to understand because it gives us a much better picture of just how much YaHuWaH values connections between people and the connection we have with Him. He calls Himself ‘echad’ and says that we are made in His own image and He calls us to be more like Him. He also says that this is His goal for His people — that we be echad (united) of heart and mind.