By remembering the overt miracles that Hashem has performed throughout Jewish history, we come to recognize the countless hidden miracles that He does for us daily. For this reason He gave us many mitzvos that remind us of these great miracles. Recognizing hidden miracles brings us to a greater awareness of Hashem’s presence in our lives, and enables us to fulfill the goal of creation, which is to thank Him (Ramban at the end of parashas Bo).
How far does this go? The halacha is that anyone who does not mention the plague of killing the firstborn in Egypt, the Exodus from Egypt, the splitting of the sea, and Hashem’s kingship in the world does not fulfill his obligation of reciting these brachos (Shulchan Aruch 66,10; Mishna Berura 66,53). For this reason a person should make special efforts to focus while mentioning these miracles (Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach as cited in Ishei Yisrael 17,55).
Women generally do not have to perform mitzvos which are time-bound. Since the Shema and its blessings must be recited by a certain hour of the day, women are technically not obligated to recite them. However, women have accepted upon themselves to say at least the first paragraph of Shema, and because of the importance of mentioning the miracles of the Exodus before Shemoneh Esrei, many halachic authorities obligate them to say Emes V’Yatziv (Mishna Berura 70, 2).
Text Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org