Chapter: Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot

01. Women with Regard to the Mitzva of Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot

It is a positive biblical commandment to recite Shema at night and in the morning, as it is written: “And you shall speak them…when you lie down and when you rise” (Devarim 6:7). “When you lie down” means at night, … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 01. Women with Regard to the Mitzva of Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot

02. The Mitzva of Reciting the Shema

The recitation of Shema includes three paragraphs. The first is “Shema” (“Listen”; Devarim 6:4-9), in which we accept the yoke of heaven and which discusses God’s unity and our love for Him. The second is “Ve-haya im Shamo’a” (“And if … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 02. The Mitzva of Reciting the Shema

03. Remembering the Exodus

It is a biblical commandment to remember the Exodus every day, as the Torah says: “So that you remember the day you left Egypt every day of your life” (Devarim 16:3). The Torah seems to add a superfluous word (“kol … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 03. Remembering the Exodus

04. The Content of the Shema Paragraph

The Shema paragraph (Devarim 6:4-9) consists of three sections: 1) the principle of faith; 2) the meaning of this principle in our lives; 3) guidance on imbuing our lives with faith. 1) The first verse, “Hear O Israel, the Lord … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 04. The Content of the Shema Paragraph

05. The Second and Third Paragraphs

In the second paragraph, “Ve-haya im Shamo’a” (Devarim 11:13-21), we learn the value of the mitzvot, the reward for those who fulfill them, and the punishment for those who transgress them. If we love God, serve Him with all our … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 05. The Second and Third Paragraphs

06. The Significance of the Exodus

The Egyptian kingdom, which enslaved Israel, was essentially a material one. Historical research corroborates this. Among all the ancient nations, no culture was more materialistic than the Egyptian culture. The Egyptians denied the existence of a soul and did not … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 06. The Significance of the Exodus

07. Kavana While Reciting the First Verse

One’s primary kavana must be for the first verse, because in saying it we accept the yoke of heaven, as the Torah says: “These words… must be in your heart” (Devarim 6:6). Therefore, one must concentrate in her heart on … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 07. Kavana While Reciting the First Verse

08. The Second Verse and its Meaning

Immediately following the first verse, we say quietly, “Barukh Shem kevod malkhuto le-olam va-ed” (“Blessed is the name of His glorious kingdom for all eternity”). Although this passage does not appear in the Shema paragraph and is not a verse … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 08. The Second Verse and its Meaning

09. The Laws of Reciting Shema

One must recite Shema with great kavana, with fear, awe, trembling, and sweat; she should contemplate in her heart that she is now reciting God’s word and focus on its meaning, as if they were new to her (SA 61:1-2). … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 09. The Laws of Reciting Shema

10. The Way to Recite Shema

One may recite Shema while standing, sitting, or lying down on one’s side (Berakhot 10a; SA 63:1). We learn from this rule that faith is not something detached from this world, something that can only be achieved under specific circumstances. … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 10. The Way to Recite Shema

11. 248 Words

The Torah gives life and health to the world and to humanity. This is especially true of Shema, which contains the principles of faith and the fulfillment of the mitzvot. The Sages teach that Shema is comprised of 248 words, … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 11. 248 Words

12. The Berakhot Are an Extension of Keri’at Shema

Birkhot Keri’at Shema are unlike other birkhot ha-mitzvot instituted as preparation mitzvot, which contain the formula “asher kideshanu be-mitzvotav ve-tzivanu…” (Who has sanctified us with His mitzvot and commanded us…”). Rather, they are formulated as praise, thanksgiving, and some petition, … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 12. The Berakhot Are an Extension of Keri’at Shema

13. The Laws of Reciting the Berakhot

A woman who recites Pesukei De-zimra and Birkhot Keri’at Shema must be careful not to interrupt by speaking between them. Since Pesukei De-zimra serves as a preparation for prayer, she must take care not to interrupt from the beginning of … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 13. The Laws of Reciting the Berakhot

14. Interruption between Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot

In order to prevent hatred and insult, the Sages permitted offering greetings in the middle of reciting Shema and its berakhot to one to whom courtesy demands doing so. The poskim write that since it is accepted nowadays not to … Continue reading

Posted in Chapter 16: Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot | Comments Off on 14. Interruption between Keri’at Shema and Its Berakhot