We may now direct our attention to
three main principles highlighted by
Duties of the Heart:

The first: Observation of the world at large; namely of the Creator’s sustenance of plants, animals, heavenly elements such as the sun and the moon, and so forth.

The second: Observation of man‘s path in this world from birth to death.

The third: Observation of G‑d’s love for Israel and of the miracles He makes for them.

When you pay careful attention to G‑d’s acts of kindness...you realize that He is One...

When you pay careful attention to G‑d’s acts of kindness, all of which are evident in the different aspects of His Creation, as we have outlined, you realize that He is One and that there is no other, and that He creates and sustains every living creature. Your awareness of His Oneness enables you to attach yourself to Him with love as you say the word "One" in the Shema, for the numerical value of the Hebrew word 'echad/one' is thirteen, identical to that of the word 'ahavah/love'.

The third paragraph contained in the tefillin, that of "Shema Israel," corresponds to Divine love and alludes to the yichudunification between the Holy One and the Community of Israel with the words "G‑d is our L-rd, G‑d is One." The text then focuses on love: "Love G‑d your L-rd with all your heart…"

The juxtaposition of the call of the Shema – the moment of total surrender – to the injunction to love G‑d, teaches us that we cannot fulfill our essential duty to surrender our life and soul for the love of our Maker unless we know in our heart that He is One and that the object of our life is to honor Him.

We have discussed two main principles – love and unity. The first secures the continued existence of the world and its sustenance, while the second concerns the unity of G‑d.

In the Zohar, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai discusses the mitzvah of tefillin:

The third section [of the four sections of the Torah contained in the head tefillin, which is] the Shema, represents the mystery of the right side, called "heavenly chesed-loving kindness," which brings about the 'yichudim/unifications on high'. The resulting energy spreads to the four corners of the universe. This produces a harmony that extends even to the lowest depths.

This world was created through the thirty-two utterances of the Name Elokim...

Let us examine the Creation and maintenance of the world. This world was created through the thirty-two utterances of the Name Elokim, which are thirty-two paths, as taught in the Sefer Yetzirah: "With 32 mystical paths of Wisdom, Yah, the L-rd of Hosts engraved His world."

Although there are many interpretations of this Mishnah, the simple understanding – namely, that all creatures and elements of the world were brought into existence through these paths of wisdom - is sufficient for our purpose. As the psalmist says, "How abundant are Your works, G‑d, with wisdom You made them all."