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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write in the HISTORICAL genre (05/03/07)

TITLE: The Shema
By Patricia Sprague


Basmath woke up before dawn to begin the preparations for the day. As she trimmed the wick and added more oil to the lamp, she silently prayed, “Blessed are You, our God, King of the Universe, who created the light of the fire. Amen.”
A commotion outside peeked her curiosity. She gently touched the mezuza, and then kissed her fingers as she exited the doorway. “The dogs must be barking at an intruding animal near the sheep”, she thought. As she turned back through the door, she felt a gentle movement in her slightly bulging abdomen. She smiled to herself, as she again touched the mazuza and kissed her fingers. She thought about her husband, Ahimaaz, as she ground barley to make the day’s bread. Oh, how she loved her husband of one year! Today was their anniversary. He was such a good and kind man and loved God with all his heart. Just as she finished baking the bread, he appeared in the doorway and smiled brightly at his wife. “Basmath, You look lovely in the morning light.” “ Is our meal ready?” he asked. “Yes, my husband, I have made your favorite food for this special day.”
Ahimaaz removed a piece of parchment from the mezuza; and sat down close to his wife. He began to recite the Shema, as he had done every morning since their marriage. Slowly and reverently he said: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
Basmath looked up at her husband and with a twinkle in her eye, she asked, “ Dear husband, will you recite to me again the part about the children?”

Brenda woke up with a start. The digital clock numbers were flashing. “What happened to the alarm?” she thought. She remembered now that the power had gone out last night. She quietly slipped from the bed, trying not to wake her husband, Andrew. She tried the kitchen switch and light flooded the room. “Thank you Lord, for electricity”, she silently prayed. Today, she had planned to make a special breakfast for their one-year anniversary. Suddenly, her thoughts were interrupted by, Solomon, their frisky, Chihuahua. He was yapping loudly to go outside. As Brenda opened the entryway, her eye caught the sun’s reflection off the metal fixture mounted on their front door. She smiled as she touched it, remembering opening that gift on their wedding day. That beautiful, golden cross, engraved with the words …as for me and my house we will serve the Lord”, Joshua 24:15 was given to them by Andrew’s great- grandparents. The cross was placed on their front door as a witness to everyone that their family loved God.
She looked up and whispered a prayer, “Thank you God, for my husband. He is so good and kind and he loves you with all his heart”. She felt a gentle movement in her slightly bulging stomach. She smiled to herself as she hurried back into the kitchen. Andrew had been watching her from the doorway, “Brenda, you look lovely in the morning light.” Come; let’s have our devotions on the porch.” Andrew reached for his worn Bible and sat next to his wife on the swing. Since the start of their marriage, they had shared a special time together every morning. “Today’s, Scripture reading is Deuteronomy 6: 4-9”, Andrew said. “It says that this portion of Scripture is called the Shema, In Hebrew, Shema means “Hear.” The Jews would keep the Shema in a small box, called a mezuza. The mezuza was attached to the upper-right hand doorpost as a sign that the household worshiped God.” Andrew read the text slowly and reverently.
When he finished, Brenda looked up at her husband and with a twinkle in her eye, she asked, “Would you read that part again about the children?”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jessica Campbell05/10/07
Sounds like this entry should have been put in the advanced section. Really well written, writer obviously researched the subject! Great Job!
Joanne Sher 05/11/07
As a Jewish believer, your title drew me in - but the story kept me riveted. I was curious where you were going with the first part - and I LOVED what you did with it! Lovely.
Donna Powers 05/11/07
wow! I loved the connection here and what a wonderful story. Very good writing. I expect to see you move up to the next level soon!
Myrna Noyes05/11/07
Very nice piece connecting an ancient Old Testament family with a modern New Testament one by showing how their family devotional practices were different but similar.

I think you meant "piqued" instead of "peeked" in one place, and it would have helped to have the stories put in paragraphs for easier reading with extra space, asterisks, or something between the two accounts.

Very interesting and clever way of sharing these stories! :)
Patty Wysong05/12/07
Oh, how wonderful!! The reading of the Shema gave me chills! I loved how you tied it together. Excellent. :-)