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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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