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Chapter 17: 1-3
Recitation of the Shema

  1. [The Torah requires that the Shema be recited within a specific time each day.] The beginning of the time to recite the Shema is the same as the earliest time on may put on tefillin ([when it is sufficiently light to enable one to recognize a colleague at a short distance as explanined] above Chapter 10, Law 2).

    The time for its recitation extends until the passage of one fourth of the day. In this context, a day is considered as lasting from dawn until the appearance of the stars at night.*

    * {The Vilna Gaon and the Shulchon Oruch HoRav 443:4 subscribe to a more lenient opinion, which considers the day as the time between the appearance of the sun and sunset. According to this view, the latest time of the recitation of the Shema in the morning is approximately an hour after that prescribed by the opinion quoted by the Kitzuer Shulchon Oruch.}

    The most preferable way to fulfilling this mitzvoh is to recite it when the pious (i.e.,those who hold the mitzvos dear) would. They would prepare to recite the Shema shortly before the appearance of the sun, so that they could complete the recitation of the Shema and its blessings together with the appearance of the sun, and immediately proceed to recite the Shemoneh Esreh. Whoever follows this practice will receive great reward.

    However, at the very least, one should take care not to recite it after one fourth of the day has passed. In particular, attention must be paid to this law in the summer, when the days are very long in this country. At times, the latest time for the recitation of the Shema is as early as 7:00 a.m.*

    * {A person who is unable to rcite the entire prayer service in time to recite the Shema at the prescribed time should recite the Shema before beginning his prayers. When he prayes afterwards, he may, nevertheless, recite the blessings for the Shema and the Shema within the prayer service. (See Ramoh, Shulchon Oruch, Orach Chayim 58:4).}

    Nevertheless, if the above mentioned time passed without one's reciting the Shema, it is permissible to recite the Shema and its blessing until one third of the day passes. However, after the third of the day has passed, one should recite the Shema alone, [without the blessings,] because it is forbidden to recite the blessings beyond this time. The Shema itself, though may be recited the entire day. (Other authorities also allow the recitation of the blessings throughout the day.)

    * { The Chasam Sofer and others allow one to recite the blessings until noon. The Mishnoh Beruroh (58; Biur Halochoh) explains that if one was prevented from reciting the Shema on time by factors beyond one's control, one may recite the blessings until noon.}

  2. The Shema may be recited whether sitting or standing. If one was sitting, it is forbidden to rise specifically in order to recite the Shema while standing.

    It is forbidden to recite the Shema while lying down. A person who is already lying down should turn to the side slightly and recite the Shema. If he is sick and it is difficult for him actually to lie on his side, he is nevertheless obligated to lean slightly to his side.

     Recitation of the Shema
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Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 1999 Project Genesis, Inc.



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