Page 8. Nevertheless we are thy people (אֲבַל אֲנַחְנוּ עַמְּךָ). This translation suits better the version which closes the previous paragraph with a citation of the Biblical text Isaiah xl. 15. A preferable rendering for our P.B. reading would be: "Verily we are thy people." Some phrases of this paragraph are found in the Midrash (Mechilta) on Exodus xv. 19 (ed. Friedmann, p. 44 a); cf. also the Midrash Yalkut, §253. Abraham thy friend (2 Chron. xx. 7, comp. Isaiah xli. 8). Isaac his only son (Genesis xxii. 2). The older reading was "Isaac thine only one (יְחִידְךָ)," i.e. the one uniquely offered to thee (God) on the altar. Jacob thy first-born son (Exodus iv. 22). Jeshurun is a poetical name for Israel (Deut. xxxii. 15, Isaiah xliv. 2), and probably means "upright" (from יָשָׁר). It may have been intended to replace Jacob, which had some unhappy implications (Professor Bacher ingeniously quotes Isaiah xl. 4, וְהָיָה הֶעֶקֹב לְמִישׁוֺר as illustrating the change from Jacob to Jeshurun). But the Septuagint Greek translation of the Bible invariably translates Jeshurun by "beloved" (GREEK TEXT), and it is to this view that the liturgy refers in the words: Whose name thou didst call Israel and Jeshurun by reason of the love where with thou didst love him. (The verb יָשַׁר sometimes means to be pleasing, as in Judges xiv. 3, a sense easily passing over to love.)
Morning and evening, twice every day declare Plear O Israel, etc. On the recitation of this passage (called from its first word shema, שְׁמַע), and on the responsive doxology Blessed be his name (בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ), see notes on P.B. page 40. The introduction of the first verse (Deut. vi. 4) at this place is due to the desire to recite it as early in the day as possible. Originally the passage was read at daybreak. The Shema at first consisted only of the opening verse (Talmud, Tractate Succah 42a, Berachoth 13b). Some mediaeval authorities hold that the Shema was inserted here because, during periods of persecution, its recitation was prohibited in its usual place. Cf. notes on P.B. page 7.