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In the song Yom Shabbaton it says:

וּפָתְחוּ וְעָנוּ יְיָ אֶחָד

Translated as: They opened and answered G-d is one

The song implies that at some point we answered Hashem is one and the song would seem to imply this was at Har Sinai based on the previous word of the song נַעֲשֶׂה וְנִשְׁמַע אָמְרוּ כְּאֶחָד is there any record of such an issuance from the people of Israel?

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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

To add to rony's answer, the source is Bemidbar/Devarim Rabba. Thus, to cite this analysis by Aliza Moshe:

ופתחו וענו ה' אחד- "ה' אלוהינו ה' אחד" (דברים ו 4), מקור נוסף ל"ה' אחד" הוא במדבר דברים רבא- "... שאמר להם לישראל שיענו על כל דבור ודבור הן או לאו. והנה על 'אנכי ה' ענו הן רוצים אנחנו לקבל אלוהותו, אבל בדיבור השני 'לא יהיה לך אלוהים אחרים על פני' פחדו ונבהלו כי לא ידעו מה לענות, כי אם יאמרו לאו- יהא משתמע שאינם רוצים לקבלו עליהם, ואם יענו הן משתמע הן יהי לנו אלוהים אחרים ח"ו , לכן נתיישבו בדעתם וצעקו כולם 'ה' אחד' ".‏

It might be that they were at a loss by the second Dibra in particular. On the first one, they were able to say 'yes', but on the second one, a 'yes' might indicate that 'we have other gods', while a 'no' might indicate that they did not want to accept Hashem. Therefore, they abandoned the yes/no and instead said 'Hashem Echad'.

I was unable to locate (with minimal searching) the Midrash Rabba in question.

But I see rony's answer, with the detail that the first two were said with a single dibbur, based on a statement in the Zohar Chadash, and put together by the Belzer Rebbe:

על כל דיבור ודיבור אמרו ישראל הן הן לאו לאו שנאמר לאמר. "אנכי ולא יהיה לך בדיבור אחד נאמרו", (זוהר חדש סוף פ' יתרו), וזהו שנאמר בתהילים אחת דיבר א-להים שתים זו שמעתי, (גימטריאות לר"י החסיד ואתחנן). והנה בעת ששמעו בני ישראל את שני הדברות הראשונות בבת אחת נפחדו ונבהלו ולא ידעו מה לענות אם יענו "הן" יש לטעות בדבריהם ולהבין ח"ו שאמרו הן על הלאו ד"לא יהיה לך" ואם יענו "לאו" יש לטעות בדבריהם ולהבין שאמרו לאו על הדיבור "אנכי ה' אלקיך" שאינם רוצים ח"ו לקבל עול מלכותו ואחדותו ית"ש לזאת שמו עצה בנפשם וצעקו כולם פה אחד "ה' אלקינו ה' אחד" ודיבור זה עלה להם יפה על שני הדברות כפי שידוע שצריך לכוון בעת קריאת שמע ה' אלקינו "אנכי ה' אלקיך" ה' אחד "לא יהיה לך אלוהים אחרים" וזה מרומז במה שאנו אומרים בזמירות שבת "ובאו כולם בברית יחד נעשה ונשמע אמרו כאחד ופתחו וענו ה' אחד" (מהר"ש מבעלזא זי"ע).‏

The Jews answered "Yes, Yes", "No, No" to every one of the 10 Commandments, as it says "Leimor" (Shemot 20:1). '"Anochi" and "Lo Yiheye Lecha" were said at once', (Zohar Chadash end of Yitro), This is what it says in Tehillim "G-d spoke one, I heard two" (Gematriot of R' Yehudah HaChassid Va'etchanan). When the Jewish People heard the first two commandments simultaneously, they were afraid and confused and did not know how to respond. If they would answer "No" it could be mistakenly understood that they were saying "No" to the Commandment "I am the L-rd your G-d", as if they did not want to accept the yolk of Heaven and G-d's Unity (G-d Forbid). They found a solution to this by calling out as one, "The L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One". This statement worked well for both Commandments, as it is known that one must contemplate during Kriat Shema that "The L-rd is our G-d" corresponds to "I Am the L-rd your G-d", and "The L-rd is One" corresponds to "You shall have no other gods".

We hint to this when we say (in the Zemirot of Shabbat) "We all came with one covenant; we said as one, 'We will do and we will hear'; We opened and answered "The L-rd is One". - The Belzer Rebbe

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5  
Perhaps you should add translations for those who need them. –  HodofHod Nov 15 '11 at 6:38
    
@Menachem Is that your translation? –  Double AA Jun 5 '12 at 0:52
    
@DoubleAA: yes it is –  Menachem Jun 5 '12 at 0:59
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I don't have the sources to this one but at Matan Torah Bnei Yisrael said "Yes, we will do" to the positive mitzvot and "no, we won't do" to the negative ones. Now as we know the first 2 Divrot: Anochi (which is a positive Dibra) and Lo Yiyiu (which is a negative one) where said bedibur echad (one utterance?). Bnei Yisrael didn't know what to say, so they answered Shema Yisrael ... Hashem echad to cover both of them.

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I was also unable to find the source Josh cited, but this straightforward alternative answer is found in Devarim Rabbah 2:31:

ומהיכן זכו ישראל לקרות שמע אמר רבי פנחס בר חמא ממתן תורה זכו ישראל לקרות שמע כיצד את מוצא לא פתח הקב״ה בסיני תחלה אלא בדבר זה אמר להם שמע ישראל אנכי ה׳ אלהיך נענו כולן ואמרו ה׳ אלהינו ה׳ אחד ומשה אמר בשכמל״ו

My free translation:

When did Israel merit to recite the Shema? Rabbi Pinchas bar Chama said: At the giving of the Torah Israel merited to recite the Shema. How so? You will find that at Sinai, the blessed Holy One began speaking to them in this way: "Hear, O Israel! I am Hashem your G-d." They all answered and said, "Hashem our G-d, Hashem is one!" Then Moses said, "Blessed is the name of the glory of his kingdom forever and ever."

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