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Siman 46 . The Laws of the Morning Blessings

46.1: (1) When one wakes up (2) from one's sleep, (3) he should say 'My G-d, the soul etc.'. When one hears the sound of a cock crowing, he should say the blessing 'Who gives (4) the heart [the ability] to distinguish between night and day'. When one dresses, he should bless (5) 'Who clothes the naked'. When one places one's hands (6) on his eyes he should bless 'Who gives sight to the blind'. When one sits he should bless 'Who releases the bound'. When one stands up he should bless 'Who straightens the bent'. When one puts his feet on the ground, he should bless 'Who spreads out the earth over the waters'. When he ties his shoes he should bless 'Who has provided me my every need'. When one walks he should bless (7) 'Who firms [prepares] man's footsteps'. When one ties his belt he should bless 'Who girds Israel with strength'. {Rama: or wears (8) trousers (pants) that separate the heart from the groin}. When one puts his hat on his head he should bless (9) 'Who crowns Israel with splendor'. When one washes his hands he should bless 'regarding washing the hands'. When one washes his face he should bless 'Who removes sleep from my eyes etc.'(10) 'And may it be Your will etc.' until 'Blessed are you Hashem, Who bestows beneficient kindnesses on His people Israel'. One should not answer 'Amen' after 'Who removes sleep from my eyes' until the conclusion, 'Who bestows beneficient kindnesses on His people Israel' because it is all one blessing.

MB: Before entering the Synagogue, while he is still in its courtyard, he should say 'into the house of G-d let us proceed with emotion'. And he should feel and shake himself on entering the Synagogue as a result of his tremendous fear. He should stop and wait a little and say the verse 'As for me, through Your abundant kindness I will enter Your house, I will prostrate myself toward Your Holy Sanctuary in awe of You', and then enter.

MB 1: When one wakes up - all these blessings are [recited] because it is forbidden to take any benefit from this world without first making a Blessing. Anyone benefiting from this world without first making a B'racha [is misusing it and is] as if he misused [items designated for holy purposes (hekdesh)]. There are [seemingly] contradictory verses: It says 'The earth and its fullness is Hashem's' and it [also] says 'but the earth He has given to mankind'. They reconciled [these verses as follows:] one [verse] is prior to making a B'racha, and the other after making a B'racha. Meaning, before making a B'racha it is Hashem's and forbidden to use like 'hekdesh,' but after making a B'racha everything is free for the use of mankind. Therefore, since prior to making a B'racha it is Hashem's, it is all holy and its use for one's own pleasure is a misuse of holy items, like with 'Terumah' that is holy [Terumah is taken from crops grown in Israel, and can only be eaten by a Cohen in a state of physical purity]. Therefore, our Sages of blessed memory instituted a blessing for each and every natural phenomena from which a person derives benefit.

MB 2: From one's sleep - i.e. specifically at the end of his sleep, but not whenever he wakes up at whatever hour.

MB 3: One should say 'My G-d, the soul etc.' - One should pause between the words 'my G-d' and 'the soul' so that it should not be interpreted that the soul is his god, G-d forbid. Look earlier in section 6 in MB12 for the laws of this blessing.

MB 4: [Sechvi] - the heart is referred to as 'sechvi' in biblical language as it says in the verse 'or who gave the 'sechvi' the ability to distinguish,' and the heart distinguishes and it is through the heart that a person differentiates between day and night. Because the cock also appreciates this (day & night), and through hearing him a person derives benefit in that he now knows that daytime is approaching, and in Arabic a cock is called 'sechvi,' they instituted this blessing on hearing the sound of the cock. See later in section 48.

MB 5: 'Who clothes the naked' - not only if he slept without any clothes, but because he is now putting on his outer garment, he makes this blessing.

MB 6: On his eyes - this means via his shirt, for it is forbidden to touch one's eyes with his hands before washing them, as it says in section 4.

MB 7: 'Who firms [prepares] mans footsteps' - The Agudah writes that one should say 'Asher Heichin' [not 'Ha'meichin].

MB 8: Trousers - In this context 'avnet' means trousers. So too when 'avnet' is mentioned at the beginning of section 91. Even though in biblical language 'avnet' is a belt, as it says 'and he should gird himself with a linen avnet', nevertheless, in the language of the Chachomim trousers are sometimes called 'avnet.' Therefore [to prove this point], the Rama uses the word 'lovesh' - to wear and not 'choger' to tie.

MB 9: 'Who crowns Israel' - Israel is mentioned in this blessing and in 'Who girds Israel' but not in the others, because the others refer to general benefits applicable to all mankind, whereas these two are specifically for Israel, because of [their trait] of 'tz'nius' - humility: the belt is so that the heart should not see the groin and the hat is also because of humility as it says in Talmud Shabbos 154 - Cover your head out of fear of your Master.

MB 10: 'And may it be Your will' - 'that you accustom US to [study] your Torah etc.' in the plural form [not 'accustom me'].

Jonathan Chody

Siman 46. The Laws of the Morning Blessings

46.2. In our days, because people's hands are not in a state of purity, and also because of uninformed people who don't know the blessings, (11) they made it a custom to say all of the Brachos in the synagogue, and the (12) congregants answer "Amen" after them, and they thereby fulfill (13) their obligation (to say the Brachos). M.B. 11: They made it a custom to say them (the Brachos) - And as to whether it is also permissible to delay the recitation on the Bracha for hand-washing until he reaches the Shul, this was discussed previously in the Shulchan Aruch (6:2). M.B. 12: The congregants answer Amen - And post facto, even if they did not answer Amen after the Brachos they have fulfilled their obligation of saying the Bracha, as it says later in the Shulchan Aruch S. 213, because they intended to fulfill their obligation. [The obligation to answer 'Amen' after a blessing is independent of having intent to fulfill one's obligation to _say_ a blessing by listening to someone else's.]

M.B. 13: Their obligation - And even one who is familiar with the Brachos can fulfill his obligation in this manner. But see what is said earlier in the Magen Avraham at the end of Shulchan Aruch 6, where he references a Levush, that one should be stringent regarding the Morning Blessings, and one should not fulfill another's obligation unless a Minyan is present. See further in section 59 paragraph 4 in the Biur Halacha, what we wrote there about this. The accepted custom in our time is that each person says all of the Brachos for himself, and the Chazan does not fulfill anyone else's obligation.

[If you are in a hurry, skip to the end here, where he explains what a person must do on Shabbos to fill 100. -- YM ]

As one goes to sleep, one says the Bracha of Hamapil. (1) As one wakes up, one says the Brachos of hand-washing and "Asher Yatzar". (3) Then one says: 16 Brachos of the Morning Blessings, (19) 3 Brachos for the learning of Torah, (22) 3 Brachos between the Tzitzis and Tefillin, according to our (Ashkenazi) custom to say two blessings over Tefillin, (25) 2 Brachos "Baruch SheAmar" and "Yishtabach" [during the introductory praises that begin the Morning Prayer... we'll get there!], (27) 8 Brachos from the Shema of both morning and night, including the blessing "Yiru Eyneinu" [which is said after the Shema according to the general Ashkenazic custom, but is _not_ customary in Israel], (35) 57 Brachos spread over the 3 daily Amidah prayers, (92) and 16 Brachos at each of 2 meals - because in each meal there are 8 blessings - washing the hands, upon the bread, and the four of Grace after Meals, and when he uses a cup of wine for Grace then he says a blessing before and after drinking it. [Note that according to the Chofetz Chayim (author of the MB) it was clear that each person ate two meals daily, had bread at both, and concluded each over a cup of wine...] So our total is 108 blessings, and if so, even on a fast day when one is missing one of the two meals he still fulfills the 100 blessings. And on the Sabbath, he is missing 13 blessings from the 100, as the Magen Avrohom points out - see there [I did - He starts given a fast, when we miss one meal and say exactly 100. On Shabbos, we lack 12 blessings per Amidah (36), 2 from Tefillin, and the blessing "Yiru Eyneinu", totalling 39. Then we make Kiddush night (2) and day (1), say the Additional Prayer (7), and eat two meals more than on a fast (16), totalling 26. We lack 13. -- YM ].

On Shabbos, therefore, one should try to fill the 100 with fruits, candies and the like, and if he has none, in extreme cases can intend to hear the blessings over the Torah and the Maftir, and answer Amen, as we will see later in section 284. And the Magen Avrohom wrote that a person should not risk saying an unnecessary blessing because of the Mitzvah to say 100 blessings. And on Yom Kippur, he should also fulfill his obligation by hearing these blessings [over the Torah & Maftir] as for Shabbos; However, on Yom Kippur after all calculations one still lacks another three blessings. And the Magen Avrohom wrote that that one should bless upon spices three times to fill 100. Note, however, that as long as he has not taken his mind off smelling spices, it is forbidden for him to make a new blessing because it is unnecessary. He can also fill his obligation with the blessing "Asher Yatzar" [after using the bathroom] if using the facilities should become necessary, and it is also possible to fulfill his obligation in extreme cases by listening to the Chazzan's repitition of the Amidah.

[In the Mishna Brura, the first blessing here is "Shelo Asani Aku'm" which literally translates as "Who did not make me an Idol Worshipper." This usually, but not always, refers to a gentile. All siddurim that I have seen use the blessing "Shelo Asani Goy." While Goy literally means a "nation" - and we are called the Goy Kadosh, "Holy Nation" - the colloquial meaning is always a non-Jew. -- YM]

46:4: A person must say the Blessings (15) "Shelo Asani (16) Goy" (Who did not make me a non-Jew), (17) Shelo Asani Aved (Who did not make me a slave), and Shelo Asani Isha (Who did not make me a woman) every day. {Rama: Even a convert (18) is able to say these Brachos. However, he may (19) not say the Bracha of Shelo Asani Goy, for he was a non-Jew at first.} Women substitute the Bracha "She'asani Kirtzono."

[This blessing, of course, has a disconcerting ring to the egalatarian ear. Much of the time, explaining anything like this is called "apologetics," and this misses the point entirely. A statement must have a discriminatory meaning - "I'm better than you are" - to be worthy of condemnation. Yechiel writes the following:] [There is an interesting point that I wish to add with respect to the Bracha of Shelo Asani Isha. I would like to say that Hashem is not, chas v'shalom, causing any sort of discrimination. The reason that we say this Bracha, in my opinion, is as a thanks to Hashem for giving us the opportunity to fulfill Mitzvos that women are not obligated to perform. Women are also commanded to fulfill many Mitzvos. This is why women say the Bracha of She'asani Kirtzono when they Daven; it is as a measure of thanks to Hashem for giving them the opportunities to do those things for which they are better naturally equipped than their husbands, and men in general. (This paragraph is my own view.) -- Yechiel Pisem] [I have heard the same explanation for Shelo Asani Isha, and this is proven when the Mishna Brura says in MB 16 that a slave is better than a non-Jew because the former is obligated in many Commandments. This is the only criterion being used. It has also been pointed out that "SheAsani Kirtzono" is much like "B'Alma DiVra Kirusei" in Kaddish - "In the world that you created according to your will." Like the world which was naturally created perfect, women were naturally created closer to HaShem's ideal. A look into the streets quickly reveals that the overwhelming majority of violent and perverse crimes are committed by men, and this is in accordance with Torah. Men _need_ additional commandments over women, to keep them Holy. My father-in-law, Rabbi Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld, adds: The Yesodei Yeshurun suggests that Shelo Asani Isha expresses gratitude for being spared the pain of childbirth, etc., and She-Asani Kirtzono expresses acceptance of it; they have no connotation of superiority/inferiority. More midrashically: Man was created after consultation with the angels, but woman was created without consultation: "by His will alone." The fact that all three blessings are said in the negative is discussed extensively, and the main reason given is that "It would be better for man not to have been created" - because everything G-d gives us to do, we violate. Therefore we wish to thank G-d for giving us additional Mitzvos - those that a non-Jew does not have, those that a slave does not have, and (for men) those that a woman does not have - but we are unable to stand up and proudly declare "who has made me a man" because we are not living up to those additional commandments. The 'slave' referred to throughout is a non-Jewish slave owned by a Jew. This invites another long discussion, which is not relevant in our day in any case. -- Yaakov Menken] M.B. 15: Shelo Asani Goy - He should be careful not to say "Blessed is He Who has made me a Jew" instead, as is erroneously printed in certain Siddurim, because in the event that he does, there are those Halachic authorities who say that he may not say the other two blessings. [NB: I have not heard of any Siddurim that still have this problem. -- YM] M.B. 16: Goy - If he said the Bracha of Shelo Asani Isha first, there are those who say that he can no longer go back to this Bracha and that of Shelo Asani Aved. The reason for this is that a woman is better than these two [again, we see immediately that this is in terms of obligations to perform Commandments], and therefore his thanks for not being a non-Jew or a slave would automatically be included, because "within 200 is 100." So too if he said the Bracha of Shelo Asani Aved, he can no longer say the Bracha of Shelo Asani Goy, for a slave is more important than a non-Jew, for he (the slave) is required to perform some Mitzvos, unlike the non-Jew who is not required to perform any Mitzvos except the 7 Noachide Laws. However, many later authorities disagree with this, and so agreed the Elya Rabba and the Derech HaChayim, that one can still say the Brachos under these circumstances. M.B. 17: Shelo Asani Aved - In the case of a slave who was born a slave, there are those who say that he also can not say the Bracha of Shelo Asani Isha, for a woman is more important than a slave. However, there are those who disagree -- see the Pri Megadim. M.B. 18: He, a convert, can say this - This means that he should say "She'asani Ger" (Who made me a convert), since converting someone is also called making, as it is written in reference to the individuals converted by Abraham and Sara "The souls that they made in Charan (a place)". There are those who argue with this, and their reason is that it is not appropriate for him to say "She'asani", who made me, for the conversion was only a matter of his good choice, that he chose the true religion. However, according to all opinions, he can say the Brachos of Shelo Asani Eved and Shelo Asani Isha, even though even a slave is more important than a non-Jew, even so, if he was born a slave perhaps his master would not have freed him and he had stayed a slave. The same is not the case in the case of She'asani Ger, for the conversion was dependent on his own will. An illegitimate child, however, may say all of these Brachos, for he is a complete and true Jew. The same is true in the case of a blind person, since it is established that he is required to perform all Mitzvos. However, one whose gender is not known and a hermaphrodite, who are only obligated in all Mitzvos as a matter of doubt may not say Shelo Asani Isha, because their gender is not known. M.B. 19: He can not say Shelo Asani Goy - see the Magen Avraham and the Baal HaTurim.

Kol Tuv and Gut Shabbos, Yechiel Pisem sha-46.05

Siman 46. The Laws of the Morning Blessings (cont.)

46:5. If one reversed the order and blessed "zokef kfufim" ("Who raises up the bent over") before he blessed "matir assurim" ("Who frees the captives"), then (20) he should not bless "matir assurim" afterwards.

MB 20: He should not bless - For since he has given thanks that he has stood upright completely, this [giving thanks for "matir assurim"] is included, as one becomes obligated to bless "matir assurim" immediately when one sits up [the first time in the morning from the lying position]. And some authorities disagree about this [and rule that one should nevertheless bless "matir assurim"], and the later authorities came to a conclusion to be lenient in this [meaning that one should NOT bless "matir assurim"]. And the Pri Megadim wrote that it is good that one try to hear the blessing "matir assurim" afterwards from someone else with intention to fulfill his obligation, and then he fulfills his obligation in any case. If at the moment he began "Blessed art Thou", his intention was to bless "zokef kfufim" [and then he remembers that he has not yet blessed "matir assurim"], he should nevertheless end the blessing with "zokef kfufim" even though he will then be unable to bless "matir assurim". And all the more so with the other morning blessings, he should not be particular about the order [if he makes such a mistake], but rather he should end the blessing as he intended when he mentioned the name of G-d. (from the Hayye Adam) If when he came to the blessing of "pokeah ivrim" ("Who opens the eyes of the blind"), he wanted to end "pokeah ivrim" but he erred in the words and ended "malbish arumim" ("Who clothes the naked"), and then immediately [lit. "toch kdei dibur" - within the time it takes to say "Shalom Aleichem Rebbe" (Hello, Teacher)] remembered and ended "pokeah ivrim", some say that he has fulfilled his obligation to bless "pokeah ivrim", because by immediately correcting himself he has nullified his first ending of the blessing ["malbish arumim"] - but some are doubtful about this. (from the Shaarei Tshuva). However if at the time he said "Blessed art Thou, L-rd our G-d King of the World", he also intended to end "malbish arumim", and after he ended with "malbish arumim" he remembered immediately and said "pokeah ivrim", then according to all opinions, he has fulfilled the obligation of "malbish arumim" and he must go back and bless "pokeah ivrim", as the proper order is not a necessary requirement in order for the blessings to be valid. And the law is the same for all of the morning blessings, EXCEPT for "matir assurim" and "zokef kfufim": if he first said "zokef kfufim" and then immediately ended "matir assurim", then even though he has only fulfilled the obligation of one blessing, the first blessing of "zokef kfufim", even so he should not bless again "matir assurim" [As we saw earlier]. (Pri Megadim)

46:6. Some have the custom to bless "hanosein layeif koah" ("Who gives strength to the weary"), and their opinion is not accepted. {Rama: But (21) the widespread custom among the Ashkenaizm is (22) to say this.}

MB 21: The custom is widespread - And thus also agreed the later authorities.

MB 22: To say it - I.e., With G-d's name and kingship ("O L-rd our G-d, King of the World"). And even if he was awake all night, even so he should say this blessing, according to our practice today, which is according to the Rama in Paragraph 8. (Pri Megadim)

46.7: Some have the custom to bless other blessings in addition to these, and (23) they are mistaken.

MB 23: They are mistaken - And if someone says the blessing "Who supports the fallen", we rebuke him. And as for the blessing of "Who raises the low [meek]", see in the Magen Avraham, and see in the Pri Megadim who wrote that today we should rebuke one whose custom is to say it, see there. [Neither is printed in Siddurim today. -- YM]

Shalom Bresticker sha-46.8

[I would like to apologize to the subscribers of the Halacha Yomi list for the tardiness of this submission. For lack of time, I have also omitted my usual brief biographical references. -- LC]

[Note that this Halacha has one _very_ long seif, and that Lawton's been swamped. Add to that a delay in mail, and the amount of time it took _me_ to edit, this is now quite late. -- YM]

Siman 46: The Morning Blessings (cont'd.)

46:8. With all of these blessings (i.e., the preliminary morning blessings mentioned in 46:1), if a person has not become obligated in one of them, e.g., if he didn't hear the crow of a rooster, didn't take any steps, didn't get dressed, or didn't put on a belt, he should say that blessing without mentioning the Divine Name. {Rama: And some authorities maintain that (24) even (25) if one hasn't become obligated in these blessings (26) he should make them. This is because the blessing does not refer to the individual personally, but rather to the fact that The Holy One Blessed Be He has provided for the world's needs. This is the widespread practice (that is, to make the morning blessings whether or not they apply to the individual) and one should not change it (Tur, Tosefos, Rosh in "Ha Ro'eh" -- the ninth chapter of Tractate Brachos, the Ran in the first chapter of Tractate Pesachim, and Kol Bo).}

MB 24: Even - See in the book Eliyahu Raba, where the author writes that the blessings "Elokai neshama" (My L-rd, the soul) and "HaMavir Shayna" (Who removes sleep) should not be made if one has remained awake all night [since both refer to G-d's waking us up from sleep - LC]. In the Pri Megadim and in the Sha'arei Tshuvah the authors conclude that this ruling (of the Eliyahu Raba) requires further study. In the Sha'arei Tshuva he concludes that one should listen to those blessings said by someone else [and say "Amen" to each - LC], and have in mind to fulfill his obligation thereby. If one had slept even sixty breaths [a period ranging from about three minutes to three hours, depending on the authority], according to all opinions one should make these blessings.

[The practice of saying "Amen" to someone else's blessing is a general solution when one's obligation to make a particular blessing is in doubt, including situations where one is not sure if one has already recited the blessing, or, as in this case, where there are conflicting rabbinic opinions about whether one is obligated. This way one avoids the possibility of making a blessing in vain. -- LC] [Note that as we saw elsewhere, it is not actually saying "Amen" that helps a second person to fulfill his obligation with another person's blessing, but rather the fact that both are concentrating upon the blessing with intent for it to apply to both parties. --YM]

MB 25: If one hasn't become obligated - Even in the desert, where one doesn't hear the rooster's crow one makes the blessing "Asher Nasan LaSechvi Vina" (Who has given the rooster understanding). A blind person makes the blessing "Pokayach Ivrim" (Who opens the eyes of the blind). A deaf person, although he can't hear the rooster's crow, can still make the blessing "Asher Nasan LaSechvi Vina" [Derech HaChayim]. The Chayei Adam writes that a deaf person should wait to say this blessing until the sky has lit up [and it is clearly late enough that a rooster has crowed, or one can see that it is daytime even without a rooster].

MB 26: He should make them - See later on in Section 47 in MB 31 and in the Biur Halacha there, what we have quoted from the Pri Megadim.


46:9. One should not recite Scriptural verses prior to making the blessings over learning Torah, even if one recites the verses as supplications (rather than for learning Torah). Other authorities maintain that one may recite verses in this way since he says them only as supplications, but it is proper to follow the first (more stringent) opinion. {Rama: But the common practice is like the second opinion, as we see that during the period (27) of Slichos [penitential prayers] [which begins shortly before Rosh HaShana and runs until Yom Kippur - LC] we say the Slichos, (28) and only afterwards do we make the blessings for learning Torah along with the other morning blessings. Also, every day after entering the synagogue we say some verses and supplications, and only afterwards make the blessings over learning Torah. The practice is to make the latter (29) immediately after the blessing "Asher Yatzar" (Who has created, which is made after relieving oneself at any time) and one should not change this practice. (It may likewise be inferred from Tosafos and the Mordechai in the first chapter of Tractate Brachos.) It is a good practice to say (30) in the morning service "Baruch Shem Kavod Malchuso L'Olam Va'ed" (Blessed be the Exalted Name of His Kingship for ever and ever) after the verse Sh'ma Yisrael ("Listen, Israel") following the morning blessings, (31) because sometimes the regular recitation of the Sh'ma is delayed until (32) after its prescribed time [the first quarter of the day], (33) and one fulfills one's obligation (to say the Sh'ma in the morning) with this (Tur).}

MB 27: Of penitential prayers (Slichos) - According to what the Rama writes afterwards, that our custom is to make the blessings over learning Torah immediately after the blessing Asher Yatzar and not to recite any verses beforehand - if so our opinion is that one should _not_ recite verses even as a supplication prior to the blessings over learning Torah. If so, during the period of Slichos one should make the blessings over Torah before the Slichos and skip the Torah blessings afterwards. [In most (all?) Siddurim today, the blessings over Torah are printed following Asher Yatzar, rather than alongside the Morning Blessings (which are printed a few pages later). So in our Siddurim we don't skip, but rather read Asher Yatzar and Bircas HaTorah, say the Slichos, and then continue with the Morning Blessings. -- YM]

MB 28: And afterwards make the blessings - Because all of this (i.e., not having to make the blessings over Torah prior to reciting verses) is according to the basic law, as quoted in the Bais Yosef in the name of the Maharil, who says that this is the practice in Germany (lit., "Ashkenaz"). The conclusion in the Rama, however, that says "The practice is to make [the blessing over Torah] immediately after the blessing 'Asher Yatzar'", means that today the widespread practice is to be stringent like the Tur, i.e., not to recite any verses before making the blessings over learning Torah.

MB 29: Immediately after, etc. - There are some authorities who maintain that the blessing Elokai Neshama comes right after Asher Yatzar, and if so, one should make the blessings over learning Torah after Elokai Neshama. The Pri Megadim writes that everyone should follow his own custom.

MB 30: In the morning service - And even those who rise early in the morning and read the Sh'ma before dawn [I believe this refers to the verse Sh'ma Yisrael following the morning blessings - LC], in which case they definitely do not fulfill the commandment to read the Sh'ma in the morning [after daylight], nevertheless the practice is to follow with "Baruch Shem Kavod Malchuso l'Olam va'ed." However, when we say just prior to "Yishtabach" ("May He be praised" - the conclusion of the preliminary morning service known as Psukei d'Zimra), "And in Your Torah it is written, saying, 'Sh'ma Yisrael...'" this should not be followed by "Baruch Shem Kavod." [Most 'Ashkenaz' Siddurim do not have these words before "Yishtabach." -YM]

MB 31: Because sometimes - Meaning that since the congregation sometimes delays (until after the latest time for fulfilling the commandment of reading the Sh'ma), therefore one should say "Baruch Shem Kavod" following "Sh'ma Yisrael" when it is recited after the morning blessings. Without "Baruch Shem Kavod" that reading of the Sh'ma has the appearance of just telling a narrative [explanation: the preceding paragraphs describe our smallness in relation to HaShem, and the great privelege of being his chosen nation. "Therefore, we are required to thank You, and to praise You... Happy are we who rise early and stay late... and say twice each day, 'Shema Yisrael...'" So without Baruch Shem etc., it does indeed sound like a narrative rather than a declaration --YM]. However, one should have the intention not to fulfill the commandment of reading the Sh'ma with this verse unless he fears that the congregation will fail to recite the full Sh'ma (later, during the main morning service) during the prescribed time period. If the congregation will recite the Sh'ma during the prescribed time, it is better to fulfill the commandment of reading the Sh'ma together with them, because they will recite all three paragraphs together with the attached blessings (two prior and one following the Sh'ma), as our Sages established that it should ideally be done. And if one fears that the congregation will miss the prescribed time period for the reading of the Sh'ma, one should explicitely intend to fulfill the positive commandment of reading the Sh'ma when reciting the verse "Sh'ma Yisrael" after the morning blessings. This is because regarding commandments of Torah origin we rule later on in Section 60, Paragraph 4 [the MB says 3, but the corrected text is 4], that to fulfill a Torah commandment explicit intent is required. Some authorities say that in this case, one should recite the whole first paragraph (that begins "And you shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart"), and it is even better to read all three sections, as the Pri Chadash writes, in order to remember the Exodus from Egypt during the reading of the Sh'ma [the Exodus is mentioned at the end of the third section -LC]. The Chayei Adam (Section 8, Paragraph 7) agrees with this.

MB 32: After its prescribed time - That is, after three variable hours [see explanation after this MB], the time for the commandment of reading the Sh'ma in the morning has passed, but the prescribed time for the blessings of the Sh'ma does not end until after four variable hours, as discussed later in Section 58. But if one is concerned that the congregation will also miss the prescribed time for the blessings of the Sh'ma, he should not wait for the congregation at all, since he will lose out on fulfilling the commandment of reciting the blessings of Sh'ma. He will also miss the prescribed time for the Silent Prayer (known as the Amidah or Shmoneh Esray, the central prayer of the morning service), which is also to be said ideally before the end of the fourth variable hour, as discussed later in Section 89. Rather, he should say the Sh'ma in its proper time together with its blessings, and recite the Silent Prayer on his own.

[Variable hours, or Sha'os Zmanios, are defined by dividing the period between sunrise and sunset, or dawn and the appearance of three stars, into twelve equal segments, each of which is a variable hour. The length of a variable hour therefore varies considerably between summer and winter, and one needs to consult a special time table applicable to one's locale to determine the last time on a given date for reciting Sh'ma and the Silent Prayer, among other things. -- LC] [Although I'm by no means certain about this, I believe the variation is roughly from 50 to 72 minutes from winter to summer. -- YM]

MB 33 - And one fulfills one's obligation with this - See in the Dagul Meirevavah and in the Novellae of Rabbi Akiva Eiger, who write that on a regular weekday one should not intend to fulfill one's obligation with this unless he has first put on Tefilin, because it says about one who reads the Shema [intending to fulfill the commandment] in the morning without Tefilin, that it is as if he is giving false testimony about himself. [Since the commandment of Tefilin is mentioned in the Sh'ma - "And you shall bind them..." - LC] But it is obvious that if it is impossible for him to put on Tefilin now for some reason, he should not let this prevent him from fulfilling the positive commendment of reading the Sh'ma, since Tefilin and reading the Sh'ma are two separate commandments, and one does not depend on the other. Where one is unable to put on Tefilin there is no prohibition of reading Sh'ma, since the statement (cited above) about giving false testimony against oneself applies only where one wilfully failed to put on Tefilin, and not where there is some compelling circumstance, as the Levush writes in Section 58 (see there). Also, see the Mishnah Brurah, Section 58, Subparagraph 5, where I have brought the words of the Levush. (After reciting the verses Sh'ma Yisrael and Baruch Shem Kavod following the morning blessings) one should say "You were the same before the world was created" and not "Before You created." [This begins the blessing that concludes "M'kadesh es Shimcha baRabim" - Who sanctify Your name among the multitudes, and the MB is specifying the wording of the beginning of this blessing - LC]



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