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63:1. One may read it (1) while walking, or standing, or lying down, or riding an animal, or sitting; but not (2) lying flat, which means either with his face in the ground, or flat on his back with his face upwards. But one may read while lying on his side. {Rama: (3) Because he is already lying down, and it will take effort to sit up.} And if he is very fat, to the point that (4) he cannot turn onto his side, or he is ill, then he should lean a bit to the side and say the Shema.

MB 1: While walking – see later in 63:3.

MB 2: Lying flat – And even leaning a bit onto his side is forbidden, because it looks like he is accepting the yoke of Heaven with haughtiness.

MB 3: Because he is already lying down – Meaning that he has taken off his clothing, and it is difficult for him to get up and get dressed again. But if he is lying down in his garments, then he must get up. And see in the Beur Halacha [In the Beur Halacha, the MB says that this is according to the Rama, who follows Rabbeinu Yonah. However, the Bais Yosef (the Shulchan Aruch) rules like the contrary opinion, and they say that even initially it is permissible to lie on one’s side and to read, because when one is completely on one’s side he will not be seen as haughty. As for the law, it seems from the Olas Tamid, the Taz and the Magen Avraham that one can follow the Bais Yosef, and this is also the ruling of the Magen Giborim. However, the Eliyahu Zuta rules like the Rama, and the Mishbetsos Zahav also leans in this direction – and so too in the novellae of Rebbe Akiva Eiger he leans in this direction, saying that for stringencies one should follow Rabbeinu Yonah, see there. Therefore, one should certainly follow the stringent opinion initially.]

MB 4: He cannot turn – But if he can turn on his side even only for the first verse, he is required to do so – and all the more so if he can read it sitting up.

63:2. (5) One who wants (6) to be “stringent” (7) to stand up to read the Shema even if he is sitting (8) is called a transgressor.

MB 5: One who wants – Because the Halacha follows the Yeshiva of Hillel, whose opinion is that the phrase “and when you rise up” does not mean when standing (which is the opinion of the Yeshiva of Shammai), but rather at the _time_ when it is normal for people to get up from their beds. It is forbidden for a person to take on the stringency of the Yeshiva of Shammai, even if his intent when standing up is not to follow the Yeshiva of Shammai but only to arouse his thoughts – even so it is forbidden. And this is true both morning and evening. Even so, one does not need to go back and repeat the Shema if he did this (Pri Megadim, see there and in the Mateh Yehuda).

MB 6: To be “stringent” – In the Yam Shel Shlomo, chapter 7 of Bava Kamma, section 41, it is written that “one who is stringent publicly, when doing otherwise is permissible and we should be concerned about haughtiness, we banish him from the congregation. And this means if the leniency is followed by all Israel (Pri Megadim). And if we know that he is doing it for the sake of Heaven, then we do not banish him. But if he does it in front of his teacher, and his teacher is lenient, then we banish him even if he is doing it with proper intent. Even if the leniency is not so widespread, one should not follow a stringency against the opinion of his teacher unless he has a proof against him.”

MB 7: To stand – This specifically is forbidden, because it appears to everyone that he is doing it to follow the stringency. However, if he is standing he is permitted to sit down, because it does not look like he is following a stringency but rather just needs to sit. This is only true in the morning – in the evening, he should not lean over or sit if he is standing, because it will look like he is following the Yeshiva of Shammai [who said that one should stand up in the morning (“and when you get up”) and sit in the evening (“and when you lie down”)].

MB 8: Is called a transgressor – As we say in the third chapter of Tractate Shabbos, we are permitted to call one who disobeys the words of the Rabbis a transgressor. The Elya Raba writes in the name of the Maharshal, that on Yom Kippur everyone agrees that one can stand, because he is not doing it for pride, but “this is his Mitzvah” – meaning to make himself similar to the angels, which are called “standing.” And the Pri Megadim forbids standing even on Yom Kippur.

63:3. (9) If he is travelling and wants to say the Shema, (10) he must stand for the first verse.

MB 9: If he is travelling – Even though it seemed above in 63:1 that it is permissible to read while walking, at least according to the basic law, nonetheless the best performance of the commandment is to stand while saying the first verse, which is the main part of the [Mitzvah of the] Shema, because a person is not so settled and is unable to concentrate when he is walking as he is when sitting. And if he actually did read while walking, he does not need to go back and read again (Pri Megadim).

MB 10: He must stand – Meaning, to stop at one place [not that he must specifically remain standing, as follows]; and it is permissible even for the evening Shema to read either standing or sitting, because it is only forbidden to sit from a standing position to say the Shema, because it looks like he is following the Yeshiva of Shammai; but to go straight from walking to sitting is permitted. If one is sitting in a wagon or ship he need not stand up, because he can concentrate well where he is, and see in the Shaarei Tshuva and the Pri Megadim. There are different opinions in the later authorities concerning one riding an animal, and it is worthwhile to be stringent.

Yaakov Menken [email protected]

Late next week we will come upon some _long_ sections, enough so that a single day’s Halacha will probably need to be divided amongst several writers. This is a good time to volunteer!

[An invitation is hereby extended to college students to join us at the Project Genesis Northeast Shabbaton, to be hosted by the Young Israel at Cornell University, Nov. 11-13. A full notice will be posted on the Genesis list. College students especially are encouraged to join [email protected] – because the one message weekly generally contains much of interest to those currently on campus. For non-students, Genesis is also the place to find out about new additions to our system of educational lists.

Current statistics: Halacha-Yomi held for a while at 465 +-5 subscribers; it now exceeds 480 – help us break 500! Genesis (although new) broke 300 this week. — YM]

[Today is the Yartzeit of my father-in-law Meyer Gasner; Meyer ben Refael Argeah. May our learning be a merit to his soul – NW.]

Siman 63. To sit when reading the Shema, and not to sleep (cont.).

63:4. The primary requirement to have proper intent [when reciting the Shema] is for the (11) first verse [Shema Yisroel]. Therefore, if one read the (12) first verse without intention, (13) he has not fulfilled his obligation and must (14) recite [the Shema] again. Even according to the view that intent is not required to properly perform Mitzvos, they (15) agree here [that intent is critical to the fulfillment of the Mitzvah].

MB 11: The first verse – [The following phrase,] “Boruch Shem Kavod etc.” is included with the first verse [for this purpose]. Some are stricter [and require proper intent for the next 2 sentences, until the words] “Al Levovecha [upon your heart]”. >From that point on, it is permitted to recite the Shema while walking or standing. [As we saw earlier in 63:3 and MB 9, one is supposed to stop walking long enough to say “the first verse.”]

MB 12: The first verse – As in the previous MB, the same holds true for “Boruch Shem…,” and if not recited with intent, it must be reread properly.

MB 13: Not fulfilled his obligation – Even if prior to reciting the Shema his intent was to full the Mitzvah of saying the Shema, if in the middle [of his prayer] his attention wandered to other thoughts, he has not accepted the sovereignty of the Almighty with his full intentions.

MB 14: Recite [the Shema] again – quietly, so as not to appear as if he is giving allegiance to two deities, G-d forbid. See earlier, Siman 61 MB 22 [where the problem of repeating the words or verses is discussed in detail]. Even if he completed the [entire first two paragraphs, which begin with the words] “Shema” and “V’haya Im Shamoa” and then remembered that he said the first verse without the proper intent, he must repeat the entire paragraph of Shema so as not to recite the Shema out of proper order, which is invalid (see Siman 64). If he remembers [that proper intent was omitted] in the middle of the paragraph of “V’haya Im Shamoa”, he should complete that paragraph, go back to the first paragraph of “Shema” and then return to the third paragraph, which begins “Vayomer”.

MB 15: Agrees here – even though [according to them] intent to fulfill the Mitzvah is not required, the intent to accept the sovereignty of the Almighty _is_ required during the recitation of the first verse of Shema.

63:4. If one is sleeping, we disturb him and awaken him so that he says the first verse while fully awake. After the first verse we do not force him to be fully awake; even reading while in a state of (16) drowsy stupor (*) is sufficient. {Rama: regarding the laws of one who is inebriated or intoxicated, see 99:1}

[(*) This state of “stupor” is described in the Talmud as a “half-sleep”, from which one can respond when asked a question, despite not being capable of logical reasoning in his response, and when subsequently asked about the event, he can remember that it occurred. – NW I’m intimately familiar with this, and invite anyone trying to understand this state to come try to wake me. |-) — YM]

MB 16: Drowsy stupor – the same is true for any unavoidable situation which interferes with proper concentration: he has fulfilled his obligation since he has recited the entire Shema. If he is overcome by sleep and unable to complete the Shema, he has not fulfilled is obligation, since the entire Shema must be recited. There are 3 opinions among the authorities: (1) Only the first verse of Shema is a Torah obligation (as opposed to a rabbinical ordinance) (2) The entire first paragraph is a Torah obligation (3) The second paragraph (“V’haya Im Shamoa”) is also a Torah obligation. All agree that the third paragraph that deals [with the mitzvah of] Tzitzis is a divine commandment, because while reading it we recall that G-d liberated us from Egypt in concert with the recitation of Shema. See Siman 67, in the MB and Shaarei Tshuvah.

63:6. While reciting Shema, one should (17) not make suggestions with his eyes, gestures with his lips nor point with his fingers (18) during the first paragraph (which is the main acceptance of the sovereignty of the Almighty) since these activities would make his recitation appear casual, when in fact it says “V’dibarta Bam [one should speak these words, i.e. the Torah]” and we learn from this that the words of the Torah should be dominant.

MB 17: Not make suggestions with his eye – Even for a Mitzvah making signs is prohibited, and certainly it is prohibited to sniff tobacco. [While uncommon in America, snuff remains quite popular in many synagogues in Israel. It’s actually much more enjoyable than it sounds. –YM I remember that it was not unusual in the synagogue of my father-in-law OB”M for some members to have a box of “tabak” which was “applied as necessary” — NW]

MB 18: During the first paragraph – Some are strict and extend this to the second paragraph also; however, an interruption for a Mitzvah is certainly permitted during the second paragraph. In any case one should certainly not interrupt for no reason. See Siman 66.

Naftoli Willner ewillner @ Baltimore, MD

Siman 63. To sit while reading the Shema, and not to sleep

63:7. If he was involved in work and wanted to recite the Shema, he should stop working (19) for the first paragraph so that his recitation should not appear secondary.

MB 19: for the first paragraph – This implies that for the rest he may [continue working], and even for the Blessings of the Shema. This is clearly stated in Beis Yosef in Siman 66. Look later in the Taz in Siman 191:1 (who states clearly one may not do anything else whilst performing any Mitzvah). This [contradiction] presents a serious problem.

63:8. Employees or even the owner (*) who are working at the top of a tree or a building site, may read the Shema where they are and need not come down. [* One might have thought that the employees, who are bound to their work by contract, should not take the necessary time to come down, but the owner himself would have to descend. –YM]

63.9: A porter, even though his load is (20) on his shoulders may read the Shema, but he should not start [the Shema] while loading or unloading because his mind is not at ease.

MB 20: on his shoulders – Even if the load is 4 Kav [1 Kav is 1.38 Litres according to R. Avraham Noeh or 2.4 Liters according to the Chazon Ish] when in which case saying the Amidah would be forbidden, [as we will see] later in Siman 97:5. [However], with regard to the Shema it is permitted.

Jonathan Chody [email protected]