(E) Hilchot Kriat Shema Siman 58-88

                Siman 58: Seifim 7

1. The time for krias shema in the morning is from when one could recognize an acquaintance at a distance of four amos. The time extends until the end of the third hour which is a quarter of the day. The ideal fulfillment of the mitzvah is to read krias shema k’vasikin (Lit. students referring to those who are humble and love performing mitzvos) who timed their reading until a little before hanetz hachama (when the sun emerges) so that he could complete krias shema and the berachos with hanetz hachama so that one could juxtapose גאולה to תפילה at hanetz hachama. One who can do this will be rewarded greatly. The duration of hanetz hachama is an hour before the entire sun is visible over the earth.

2. If one did not read shema before hanetz hachama he should read it as early as possible.

3. Someone who faced circumstances beyond his control, e.g. he rose early to travel in a place of wild animals and armed thieves so that he will not be able to stop and concentrate for the first paragraph or even through the words על לבב ך or if the caravan will travel quickly and will not wait for him, he may read krias shema with the berachos from amud hashachar because once amud hashachar has arrived it is considered ובקומך and it also a time to read .יוצר אור If, however, one is not travelling in a place of wild animals or armed thieves and the caravan will not travel so quickly one should not read krias shema even if he begins travelling after amud hashachar.

4. If one read krias shema after amud hashachar when he was not an אונס he has b’dieved fulfilled his obligation. If he read krias shema without the berachos at that time he should read it again during the correct time with its berachos.

5. If one could not read shema at night and it is now after amud hashachar, one may still read shema and fulfill his obligation to read shema at night as long as it is not yet hanetz hachama. If at this time he is compelled to travel to a place of wild animals or armed thieves he may not reread shema during that time to fulfill his obligation of krias shema during the day because once he treated this period as night it is impossible for it to be treated as day.

6. Even though one may read shema until the end of the third hour if the third hour passes and he did not read shema he should it read it with the berachos in the fourth hour which is a third of the day but he is not rewarded with having read shema in the correct time. If the fourth hour passes and one did not read shema he should read it without the berachos sometime during the day.  

7. If one did not read shema during the day there are those who say that it could be made up at night. Similarly, if one did not read shema at night it could be made up during the day. Others disagree with this ruling.

           Siman 59: Seifim 5

1. ברוך אתה ה’ אלוקינו מלך העולם יוצר אור ובורא חושך the enactment of Chazal was to mention night during the day to reject the thought of the heretics who claim that the one who created light did not create darkness.

2. If one began the beracha with the words אשר בדברו מעריב ערבים and then realized and said יוצר אור and concluded with the words יוצר המאורות he has fulfilled his obligation. If he said אשר בדברו מעריב ערבים and did not say יוצר אור or if he did not conclude with the words יוצר המאורו he did not fulfill his obligation. If he said יוצר אור ובורא חושך אשר בדברו מעריב ערבים and concluded מעריב ערבים he did not fulfill his obligation. Similarly, if he began with the words יוצר אור and concluded מעריב ערבים he did not fulfill his obligation. But if he concluded with יוצר המאורות he has fulfilled his obligation since he began with the words יוצר אור even though he interrupted in the middle with .מעריב ערבים

3. According to some kedusha in the beracha of יוצר may be read by an individual since it is merely recounting what occurs but others maintain that an individual should skip it since it may only be read with the tzibbur. One should be concerned with the latter opinion and when being recited by an individual he should sing it with the trup as though he was reading the pesukim from the Torah. The custom is to follow the first opinion and an individual may say it. When answering this kedusha it should be done out loud.

4. The beracha of יוצר או ר and ערבית should be read quietly with the shaliach tzibbur. One should finish ahead of the shaliach tzibbur so that one could answer אמן after his beracha. However, if one did not say the beracha but merely heard the shaliach tzibbur read the beracha he fulfilled his obligation since the shaliach tzibbur can discharge the obligation for these berachos for individuals even for those who are capable of reciting the beracha for themselves. However, the shaliach tzibbur cannot discharge the obligation of an individual unless ten people are present. One should not answer אמן after the beracha of הבוחר בעמו ישראל באהבה since it would constitute an interruption. (See siman 61).

5. If one erred during the beracha of יוצ ר and must be replaced – if the error was after kedusha the replacement need only start from where the first person left off. In other words he should begin from kedusha or afterwards. If the first shaliach tzibbur stopped before kedusha the replacement must start from the beginning of the beracha.

              Siman 60 Seifim 5

1. The second beracha is אהבת עול ם . (According to others the beracha begins אהבה רב ה and that is our custom) and it does not begin with ברוך since it is connected with יוצר או ר . Whether this beracha exempts one from birkas haTorah is discussed in siman 47.

2. One who reads shema without its berachos has fulfilled his obligation to read shema but he must recite the berachos without shema. It appears to me that it is preferable to repeat shema with the berachos.

 3. The order of the berachos is not essential, therefore, if one recited the second beracha before the first he has fulfilled his obligation. 

4. Some say that mitzvos do not require intent and some say that intent is necessary for one to fulfill the mitzvah and halacha follows the latter opinion.

 5. If a person reads shema and did not concentrate when he read the first pasuk of שמע ישראל he did not fulfill his obligation. If he did not concentrate for the rest of shema, even if he was reading from the Torah or proofreading the parshiyos during the time of krias shema he has fulfilled the mitzvah as long as he concentrated while reading the first pasuk.

            Siman 61 Seifim 26

1. One should read shema with concentration, fear, awe, trembling and shaking.

2. The words, ” אשר אנכי מצוך היום ” teach that every day the words should seem as though they are new and not like one who heard it already numerous times to whom it is no longer dear.

3. Krias shema has 245 word and in order to reach 248 words to correspond to the limbs of the body the shaliach tzibbbur should finish shema with the words ה ‘ א -לוקיכם אמת and then he should repeat those words out loud. By doing so each person fulfills his obligation since they hear the shaliach tzibbur read these three words. If an individual wants to repeat these words with the shaliach tzibbur there is no prohibition in doing so. If someone is reading shema by himself he should have in mind that the 15 ו ” ” of אמת ויציב which equal 90 correspond to the name of Hashem three times – each name equals 26 plus the four letters of each word [(26+4) *3=90]. Another explanation is that the 15 ” ” וis 90 plus one reading is 91. 91 equals that the name of Hashem as it is read and as it written and it becomes as if one says ה ‘ אדנ “י אמת . Some say that when reading shema by one’s self he should say ‘ א -ל מלך נאמן שמע וכו since these three additional words bring the total number of words in shema to 248 and they also replace the אמן that one should answer to the beracha of הבוחר בעמו ישראל באהבה and this is our custom. It appears to me that when reading shema with the tzibbur one should not say א -ל מלך נאמן ; rather one should say אמן after the shaliach tzibbur finishes the beracha and that is the custom and it is correct.

4. The custom is to read the first pasuk out loud in order to inspire concentration.

5. The custom is to place one’s hands over his face while reading the first pasuk so that he should not gaze at something that would detract from having proper concentration.

6. One must extend the ” ח” of אחד so that one declares Hashem’s reign over the Heavens and earth which is alluded to by the roof of the ” ח”. One should extend the ” ד” of אחד for the amount of time necessary to consider that Hashem is One in this world and his dominion extends to the four corners of the universe but one should not extend the ” ד ” more than this. Some have the custom to turn their head in sync with their thoughts that Hashem is up, down and in the four directions.

7. One should emphasize the ” ד” so that it should not sound like a ” ר”.

8. One should not hurry the ” ח” or extend the ” א”.

9. It is prohibited to say שמע two times whether he repeats the word by saying שמע שמע or whether he repeats the first pasuk.

10. When reading shema on one’s bed it is permitted to read the parsha and then repeat it. There is an opinion that maintains that even in this circumstance one should not repeat the pasuk two times.

11. Those who while saying selichos early in the morning or on Yom Kippur during ne’ilah read the pasuk of shema twice should be taught to stop doing so.

12. ה’ הוא הא-לוקים” ” that is said seven times during ne’ilah is a proper practice. There are those who say that one should not respond to any beracha by answering אמן twice.

13. After the first pasuk one must say quietly .ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד

14. One must pause between the words לעולם ועד and ואהב ת in order to separate between the acceptance of the yoke of Heaven and the yoke of other mitzvos. One should pause when reading the first pasuk between ישראל and ‘ ה and between א-לוקינ ו and ‘ ה so that it should sound as if one is saying, “Listen Israel because Hashem who is our G-d, He is Hashem who is One.” One should pause slightly between אחד and ברוך since the primary acceptance of the yoke of Heaven is in the first pasuk.

15. One must pause between the words היום and על לבב ך and between היום and אהבה so that it should sound as though it applies today but not tomorrow.

16. One must pause between נשב ע and ‘ ה so that one could properly pronounce the ” ע ” so that it should not sound like a ” “. ה

17. One must articulate the ” ז ” of the word תזכר ו so that it should not sound like one is saying “lying” or “to be rewarded” and he would be considered a slave who is worshipping in order to be rewarded. Similarly, one must articulate the ” ז” of the word .וזכרתם

18. One must emphasize the ” י ” in the phrase שמע ישרא ל so that it should not become swallowed and sound like an ” א .” Similarly, one must emphasize the ” י ” of והי ו so that it should not sound like .והא ו

19. One must leave space between the word חרה and א ף so that it should not sound like .וחרף

20. One must leave space between words when one word ends and the next word begins with the same letter. For example, בכל לבב ך, על לבבכם, בכל לבבכם, עשב בשדך, ואבדתם מהרה, הכנף פתיל and .אתכם מאר ץ

21. Anytime an ” א” follows a ” ם” one must pause between them. For example, ולמדתם אתם, וקשרתם אתם, ושמתם את, וראיתם את ו, וזכרתם את ועשיתם את . If one does not pause it may sound as though one said מותם meaning death.

22. Even during pesukei d’zimra and shemone esrei one should be careful to use proper grammer. When reading Torah, Nevi’im and Kesuvim one should also be careful regarding these matters.

23. One must be careful not to soften a letter (i.e. pronounce a letter without a dagesh) that should be hard (i.e. a letter that has a dagesh) or harden a letter that is supposed to be soft. Similarly, one should not pronounce a נח if it should be נד or pronounce a נד if it should be a .נח

24. One must read shema with the trup as they are used in the Torah. But in these countries this is not our custom but those who are meticulous are stringent about this.

25. When one reads וקשרתם לאות על ידך he should touch his tefillin shel yad and when he reads והיו לטטפת בין עיניך he should touch his shel rosh. When he reads וראיתם אתו he should touch his two front tzitzis (See above 24:5).

26. Some have the custom to read shema out loud and some have the custom to read it quietly. Nevertheless, one should read the first pasuk out loud and that is our custom.

          Siman 62 Seifim 5

1. Even though it is a mitzvah to read with precision if one read without precision he has fulfilled the mitzvah.

2. Shema may be read in any language and one must be careful not to mispronounce letters in that language and he should be precise as if he was reading lashon kodesh.

3. One should read loud enough that he could hear himself read but if he cannot hear his reading the mitzvah is fulfilled as long as he articulated the words.

4. If one is ill or due to some other ones he read shema in his mind he has fulfilled the mitzvah. One may do this even l’chatchila if he is in a place that is filthy and as a result of an ones he is not able to clean it. If the place is absolutely filthy it is prohibited to even contemplate Torah.

5. The shaliach tzibbur must read the pasuk of shema out loud so that the kahal will hear and declare Hashem’s Kingdom together.

           Siman 63 Seifim 9

1. One may read shema walking, standing, lying down, riding on an animal or sitting. One may not read shema in a prakdon position, meaning lying face down or on one’s back facing up but one may read lying on one’s side (If he is already lying down and it would involve effort to stand). If the person is large and cannot turn on his side or if he is ill he should turn slightly onto his side.

2. One who wants to be stringent and stand when he had been sitting in order to read while standing is called a sinner.

3. If one was walking and wants to read shema he must stand to read the first pasuk.

4. The primary intent is for the first pasuk, therefore, if he did not have intent for the first pasuk he must read it again. Even the opinion who maintains that mitzvos do not require intent would agree regarding intent for the first pasuk of shema.

5. If someone was sleeping we disturb him and wake him to read the first pasuk while fully awake. From that point on we do not disturb him to be fully awake for even if he reads while dozing he fulfills the mitzvah. The halacha of one who was drinking or is drunk is discussed later in 91:1.

6. One who is reading the first paragraph of shema should not signal with his eyes or lips or point with his fingers since that is the primary acceptance of the yoke of Heaven and communicating gives the impression that one is doing so casually and the pasuk says ודברת בם and this is understood to mean that it should be formal.

7. If one was engaged in an activity and wants to read shema he must stop that activity until the he reads the first parsha so that it should not appear as though his reading is casual.

8. Craftsmen or homeowners who were working in a tree or on the top of a row of a structure may read shema where they work and are not required to descend before reading shema.

9. A porter is permitted to read shema while carrying a load on his shoulder but he should not read while loading or unloading his load since at that time his mind is not settled.

             Siman 64 Seifim 4

1. One does not fulfill the mitzvah if he reads shema out of order. This ruling is limited to reading the pesukim out of order but although one should not read the paragraphs out of order if one does so he has fulfilled the mitzvah since they are not next to one another in the Torah. 

2. If one made an error while reading a parsha – if he knows where he erred, for example he read it all but skipped a pasuk he should go back to that pasuk and then finish the parsha but if he does not know where he erred he should go back to the beginning of the parsha.  

3. If one becomes confused between one parsha and the next, meaning he knows that he finished a parsha but does not recall which one he should return to the end of the first parsha and then begin with והיה אם שמע .

4. If one was reading וכתבתם and does not recall whether he was up to וכתבתם of the first parsha or the second parsha he should return to וכתבתם of the first parsha. This applies if he did not begin למען ירבו ימיכ ם but if he began reading למען ירבו ימיכ ם he does not go back to the first paragraph since we assume his reading followed his normal habit.

            Siman 65 Seifim 3

1. If one reads serugin, meaning he began to read and then stopped, whether in silence or whether by speaking, and then returned to his reading to complete shema, even if he paused the amount of time it takes to complete the entire shema he has fulfilled the mitzvah even if the pause was the result of an ones. Some say that if there was an ones and he paused the time it takes to complete shema he must go back to the beginning and this is the custom. We calculate the delay according to the reader and not by an objective standard of how long it takes to complete shema.

2. If someone read shema and entered the Bais HaKnesses and found the tzibbur reading shema he should read the first pasuk with them so that it does not appear as though he is not interested in accepting the yoke of Heaven with his friends. Similarly, if one is in the Bais HaKnesses saying supplications or pesukim when he is in a place that he could interrupt he should read with the tzibbur, however, if he is in a place where he may not interrupt, for example, from ברוך שאמר and onwards he should not interrupt; rather he should read the words that he was about to say with the tune that the tzibbur uses so that it appears as though he is reading together with them.

3. If one read shema and entered the Bais HaKnesses and found the tzibbur reading shema it is appropriate for him to read all of shema with them and receive reward for having read Torah. However, he is not obligated to read more than the first pasuk as was explained.

                 Siman 66 Seifim 10

1. Between paragraphs one is permitted to inquire about the well being of an honored person and respond to an inquiry about one’s well being to anyone. In the middle of a paragraph one may inquire about the well being of someone that one fears, e.g. a father, rebbi or someone who is wiser and certainly to a king or strongman. It is also permitted to respond to an inquiry from an honorable person even in the middle of a pasuk with the exception of the pasuk of שמע ישראל and ברוך שם כבוד when one may not interrupt at all unless one fears that he will be murdered.

2. If one forgot to put on talis and tefillin he may interrupt between paragraphs to put them on and recite their respective beracha as well. Some say that one should not recite the beracha until after davening and that is the custom regarding the talis.

3. For kaddish, kedusha and ברכו one must interrupt even in the middle of a pasuk and the same holds true for modim, although one should not say any more than the word מודים . Similarly, when answering ברכו one may not say ‘ יתברך וישתבח וכו . Some contend that answering אמן to הקל הקדוש and שומע תפלה is comparable to answering kedusha and one may respond to them during krias shema and that opinion should be followed. One may certainly respond to these prayers while reading supplications.

4. If a kohen was reading shema and was called for an aliyah there is an opinion who maintains that he should interrupt reading shema and another opinion maintains that he should not interrupt and the halacha follows the latter opinion.

5. The following is “between paragraphs:” between the first beracha and the second, between the second beracha and shema, between shema and והיה אם שמע , between והיה אם שמע and ויאמ ר , but between ויאמר and אמת ויציב one should not interrupt since one should not interrupt between ה’ א-לוקכם and אמת . Rather one should say אני ה’ א-לוקיכם אמת and then interrupt according to the rules for interrupting in the middle of a paragraph.

6. If one interrupted out of fear or honor or if one finished shema, meaning he read the words ה ‘ א-לוקכם אמת before the chazzan and awaits the chazzan to read those words he is not required to repeat the word .אמת

7. One does not answer אמן after גאל ישראל since it would constitute an interruption. Some maintain that one should answer אמן and our custom is to answer אמן to the shaliach tzibbur. When davening by one’s self he sho וld not answer אמן as discussed below in siman 215.

8. One is required to juxtapose גאולה to תפלה and not to interrupt after גאל ישראל . It is only in a circumstance of ones, for example one’s tefillin arrived between גאולה and תפלה , that one may put them on at that point but the beracha should not be recited until after davening. One should not put on his talis at that point. If before he reached גאל ישראל his talis and tefillin arrived he should put them on without reciting the beracha until after davening. Some say that before גאל ישראל he should recite the beracha on his tefillin and that is the correct custom.

9. One should not respond to kaddish or kedusha between the beracha of גאל ישרא ל and shemone esrei; rather he should wait at the words שירה חדש ה to respond.

10. If one did not read אמת ויצי ב in the morning or אמת ואמונה at night he did not fulfill the mitzvah as it should be fulfilled. One who is pressed and does not have time to say shemone esrei immediately after krias shema should read shema through the word אמ ת and he should then wait before saying the other beracha until he is ready to daven shemone esrei. At that point he should he should begin with the word ויצי ב and daven though shemone esrei in order to juxtapose גאולה to shemone esrei.

            Siman 67 Seif 1

1. If one is uncertain whether he read shema he should read it again with the berachos before and after. If, however, he knows that he read shema but does not recall whether he read the berachos he does not repeat the berachos.

            Siman 68 Seif 1

1. There are places that interrupt birchos krias shema to read piyutim and it is correct to refrain from saying them since they are an interruption. According to some there is no prohibition and the custom in all places is to read them but one who is lenient and does not read them loses nothing. Nevertheless, one should not engage in other activities. One may not even interrupt with divrei Torah while the tzibbur is reading piyutim and it is certainly prohibited to engage in idle chatter. However, if someone studies by thinking about Torah, meaning he just looks inside of a sefer, it is permitted since thought is not the same as speech. There is, however, a concern that his thinking about Torah will lead to talking, therefore, one should not behave differently from the tzibbur if they have the custom to read piyutim and he should read them together the tzibbur. See below 90:10.

           Siman 69 Seifim 2

1. If there are a group of people who had davened to themselves and did not hear kaddish or kedusha, one of them can get up and say kaddish, ברכ ו and the beracha of יוצר אור and this is called פורס על שמ ע , meaning a piece or half, since they only say a part of davening. Nowadays the custom is that people do not say all of יוצר או ר , instead they say kaddish, ברכ ו and the people respond ברכו ה’ וכו ‘ . Some say that we are פורס על שמע for ma’ariv the same as for shacharis but we do not follow that practice since there is no kaddish before ברכ ו in ma’ariv. After יוצר אור they say אבו ת, גבורות, קדושה ואתה קדוש and collectively this is called עובר לפני התב ה . This procedure is not practiced unless there are ten men present since it is a sacred matter. One should look for six people who have not heard kaddish or kedusha which is the majority of the minyan. However, even if just one person did not hear these prayers this procedure cold be followed. Even someone who heard these prayers may act as shaliach tzibbur for these matters. It is preferable, however, that someone who did not hear these prayers should serve as shaliach tzibbur than for someone who has already heard these prayers to serve as shaliach tzibbur. After the one who is עובר לפני התבה finishes the first three berachos he should finish davening without interrupting even if he already davened but the others may interrupt. Certainly if the one leading this procedure has not yet davened he should finish shemone esrei even though it means that he will say krias shema and will not juxtapose גאולה and תפיל ה . It is prohibited to interrupt for this procedure between גאולה and תפיל ה or in shema or its berachos, therefore, it is prohibited for a shaliach tzibbur to interrupt between shema and shemone esrei or in birchos krias shema to be פורס על שמע for those who arrived after the kaddish and ברכו and already began .יוצר אור During the berachos for ma’ariv one may interrupt to discharge the obligation of others. Another person, however, may be פורס על שמע or daven the entire tefila even in a Bais HaKnesses where a minyan already davened to discharge the obligation of others but the second chazzan should not stand where the first chazzan stood since that appears disrespectful to the first minyan, as if the second minyan is saying that the first group did not fulfill their obligation. It appears to me that this is limited to where the people of the first minyan did not yet leave but once they left the second chazzan may stand in the same place as the first.

2. Someone who is blind and has never in his lifetime seen light may be פורס על שמע and read יוצר המאורות since he benefits from the lights by virtue of the fact that others see the light and guide him on the path that he walks.

            Siman 70 Seifim 5

1. Women and slaves are exempt from krias shema since it is a positive time bound mitzvah. It is correct to instruct them to accept the yoke of Heaven by reading at least the first pasuk of shema.

2. Minors are exempt according to Rabbeinu Tam if they have not reached the age of chinuch and according to Rashi even if they did reach the age of chinuch since children are not with their father’s at night during the time to read shema and they are sleeping in the morning. It is appropriate to follow Rabbeinu Tam.

3. One who married a besulah is exempt from krias shema for three days if he did not consummate the marriage since he is involved with fulfilling the mitzvah. This halacha applied in the times of the Rishonim but nowadays that even others do not concentrate very well even one who marries a besulah reads shema. See below siman 99 whether one who is drunk reads shema.

4. One who is engaged in communal needs and the time for shema arrives he should not interrupt that activity, rather he should finish that task and then read shema if there is still time to read it.

5. If one was eating, bathing, getting his hair cut, turning over hides or adjudicating a civil matter, according to Rambam he should finish his activity and then read shema but if out of concern that the correct time will pass he interrupted his activity to read shema he did a praiseworthy act. According to Ra’avad he must interrupt his activity to read shema even though time remains to read shema later (see below siman 235).

             Siman 71 Seifim 2

1. When a relative for whom one is obligated to mourn dies even if it is not incumbent upon him to bury that relative he is exempt from krias shema and tefila. Even if one wants to be stringent and read shema he is not permitted to do so. If there is someone to take care of the burial arrangements and the mourner wishes to be stringent and read shema we do not protest. (See Yoreh Deah siman 341).

2. This ruling (exempting the onen from davening) applies during the week but on Shabbos he is obligated in all the mitzvos until evening if he walks to the end of the techum to prepare to attend to the burial after Shabbos. If he is not waiting at the end of the techum he is obligated to perform all the mitzvos until nightfall. The second day of Yom Tov is the same as a weekday (see siman 548:5). Regarding the first day of Yom Tov if the deceased will be buried by a gentile that day it is treated like a weekday but if the burial will not be held that day it is treated like Shabbos.

3. One watching a corpse, even if it is not his relative, is exempt from krias shema.

4. If there are two people watching the deceased, one will watch and the other could read shema and then they could switch.

5. One digging a grave for a corpse is exempt from krias shema

6. If there are two or more people digging a grave, those needed to dig at once are exempt and the extras should slip away, read shema and then return to dig so that the others could slip away to read (See Yoreh Deah 365).

7. It is prohibited to read shema within four amos of a corpse or in a cemetery and if one reads shema he does not fulfill the mitzvah. 

               Siman 72 Seifim 5

1. Those who carry the coffin as well as their replacements and the replacements for the replacements, whether they are in front of the casket or behind it, if they are needed to transport the casket they are exempt from shema. The others accompanying the casket who are not needed to transport the casket are obligated to read shema.

2. A body should not be taken for burial close to the time of krias shema if there will not be enough time to complete the burial before the time for shema. If they took out the body anyway they do not stop in order to read shema.

3. While the people are involved in eulogizing the deceased: if the deceased is present people should slip away one at a time to read shema and daven. If the deceased is not present they should read shema and daven and the onen should wait silently.

4. After the burial and the mourners have returned to receive consolation and the people are following behind from the grave to the place where the mourners will walk through the rows of people – if the people could read at least one pasuk of shema before establishing the rows they should do so but if not they should not read any part of shema if there is time later to read shema.

5. Regarding those standing in the row to offer consolation those on the inside who can see the mourner are exempt while those on the outside who cannot see the mourner are obligated.

             Siman 73 Seifim 4

1. If two people were sleeping under a blanket and their skin was touching one another they may not read shema unless they use a cloth to separate from one another from the waist down.

2. If someone was lying next to his wife he may read shema by turning his body away from her even without a cloth separating their skin since she is considered the same as his body. Some maintain that this is prohibited and it is appropriate to be concerned with such a position. 

3. If one was sleeping next to his small children it is permitted to read shema by turning away even without a cloth separating between them. If they are older a cloth separating between them is necessary.

4. Until when are they considered small? For a boy it is until he is 12 and for a girl it is until she is 11 even if they already have two body hairs. In a boy’s 13th year [meaning the year before his bar-mitzvah] or a girl’s 12th year if they have two body hairs a separation is necessary but if not a separation is not needed. From the time a boy is 13 and a girl is 12 it is prohibited to read without a separation even if they do not possess two body hairs.

               Siman 74 Seifim 6

1. If someone was sleeping naked under a blanket he must use the blanket to separate his heart from the lower part of his body since it is prohibited to daven if one’s heart sees his ervah. The same halacha applies if one’s heart sees his friend’s ervah.

2. Someone who is bathing naked in clear water and wants to take a drink, he should take a garment and place it beneath his heart so that his heart will not see his ervah when he recites the beracha. Only a garment will be effective but just placing one’s hand beneath his heart is not an effective cover. Similarly, covering one’s head with one’s hand is not considered covered. See below siman 91. If the water was cloudy so that one’s limbs are not visible in the water it is permitted to read while in the water as long as it does not smell. If one’s heart is out of the water it is permitted to read even if the water is clear.

3. If a person places his arm across his chest it is considered as though there is an interruption.

4. There is an opinion who maintains that women may recite berachos and daven while wearing a shirt even though there is no separation beneath her heart. If a woman is naked she must sit in a way that covers her ervah so that her heart does not see her ervah but a man may not read shema while sitting naked.

5. Other limbs may see one’s ervah but if a limb touches one’s ervah or another person’s ervah it is prohibited to read shema or daven. One must have a cloth separate between the part of thigh where the ervah rests and the ervah.

6. If one is wrapped in a garment around one’s waist which covers the person from the waist down but the upper part of his body is uncovered he may read shema but he is not allowed to recite shemone esrei until his heart is covered. 

               Siman 75 Seifim 6

1. It is prohibited for a man to read shema in the presence of a tefach that is exposed on a woman that is normally covered. According to some authorities this halacha is limited to one’s wife but when it comes to another woman even less than a tefach is considered an ervah. It seems from the Rosh that an exposed tefach of a woman is an ervah even for another woman; it is just that to herself it is not considered an ervah. 

2. It is prohibited to read shema in the presence of a woman’s hair that is normally covered even if it is one’s wife’s hair but it is permitted to read shema in the presence of the hair of an unmarried woman that is commonly exposed. Similarly, it is permitted to read shema in the presence of hair of a woman that protrudes from beneath her kerchief and certainly in the presence of a woman wearing “foreign” hair, i.e. a wig, even if it is normally covered.

3. One must be careful not to hear a woman singing while reading shema even if it is one’s wife’s voice but a voice with which one is familiar is not an ervah.

4. It is prohibited to read shema in the presence of an ervah even the ervah of a gentile or child. Some authorities permit reading shema in the presence of the ervah of a child as long as the child is incapable of biah and halacha follows this opinion.

5. It is prohibited to read shema if an ervah behind a lamp is visible through the walls since the pasuk says, ולא יראה בך ערות דב ר and in this case it is visible.

6. If an ervah was in front of someone and he turned his head away, closed his eyes, it was night or if he is blind it is permitted to read shema since the restriction relates to seeing the ervah and in these circumstances it cannot be seen.

           Siman 76 Seifim 8

1. It is permitted to read shema if solid waste is behind a lamp even if it is visible through the walls since regarding waste the issue is whether it is covered as it says וכסת את צאתך and if it is behind a lamp it is covered.

2. If human waste is in a hole one may cover the hole with his shoe since it is considered covered and as long as it is does not smell one may read shema. One must be certain, however, that his shoe does not touch the waste.

3. If waste is transported in front of someone he may not read shema. A pig’s mouth is categorized as passing human waste. Even if the pig emerges from a river that bathing does not clean the pig since it is considered as though it bathed in a pot with human waste.

4. If one has waste on his skin but it is covered by a garment or if one reaches his hand into a bathroom through a hole and does not smell anything foul, there are those who maintain that he may read shema and others prohibit reading shema. According to some the opinion that permits covered waste limits his position to where it is covered without the need for a garment to cover it, e.g. in his armpit. It is correct to follow the stringent opinion. Zera on one’s skin is the same as waste.

5. It is prohibited according to all opinions to read shema if one has waste in his pi taba’as even if it is covered. Even if it is not visible while standing and only becomes visible when he sits he may not read shema.

6. If there was some waste in front of a person he may nullify it by spitting on it and then he may read shema. This is effective only if the spit is thick. Nullification only works temporarily but if he does not read immediately and the spit becomes absorbed into the waste it is not nullified.

7. If it is uncertain whether there is waste in a house it is permitted to read shema since the presumption is that a house does not contain waste. If it is uncertain whether there is waste in a garbage dump one may not read shema since the presumption is that there is waste there. If it is uncertain whether there is mei raglayim one may read shema even if the uncertainty is in a garbage dump since the Torah’s prohibition regarding mei raglayim is limited to the stream of mei raglayim and after it hits the ground it is no longer prohibited, therefore Chazal did impose their stringency in circumstances of doubt.

8. If one read shema in a place that could contain waste and later discovered that there was, in fact, waste present he must reread shema. If, however, it is a place where there is no reason to suspect that there is waste and later discovers waste he is not required to reread shema. Regarding mei raglayim one is never required to repeat shema even if he was in a place where there was reason to be concerned about its presence.

           Siman 77 Seifim 2

1. It is prohibited to read shema in the presence of mei raglayim unless one pours over it a revi’is of water and then it is permitted. It does not matter whether it is on the ground or in a utensil as long as it is not a utensil designated for human waste. It also does not matter whether the mei raglayim was in the utensil and someone poured on top water or whether the water was there first.

2. One revi’is is effective for one mei raglayim, for two mei raglayim two revi’os are needed and three are needed for three and so on and so on.

         Siman 78 Seif 1

1. If one began reading shema and mei raglayim began to drip down his leg he should pause until the flow stops and then resume reading shema. Even if one’s garments became wet to the degree that they could wet a surface that could wet another surface it is permitted to read shema since it is covered by one’s garment. If the mei raglayim fell on the ground he should distance himself four amos or the distance mentioned in siman 82 or wait until it is absorbed in the ground. Even if one paused the amount of time necessary to finish shema one is only required to resume where he left off. According to some opinions if he paused the time it takes to finish shema he should restart from the beginning and this is the primary position as discussed in siman 65 and it is calculated according to the individual reader.

                 Siman 79 Seifim 9

1. One must distance himself four amos from where the smell dissipates if there is waste behind him. Even if one is ill and cannot smell he must distance himself from the place that the smell is no longer detectable to one who can smell. Waste may not be within one’s line of vision (i.e. in front of him) even if it is night or if he is blind so that he can’t see it and he must distance himself from it so that he would not be able to see it if it were day. Waste that is on one’s side is the same as waste that is behind him. If the shaliach tzibbur is davening in the Bais HaKnesses or is a house and there is waste present, even if it is behind him he must be silent until the waste is removed since he is discharging the obligation of others and it is impossible that someone is not within four amos of the waste. See end of siman 90.

2. If the waste was ten tefachim high, in a pit ten tefachim deep or in another house, even if there is a doorway connecting the two houses and he sits next to the doorway and can see the waste – as long as he cannot smell the waste it is permitted to read shema according to Rosh. Since the waste is in a different domain the pasuk והיה מחניך קדוש is fulfilled. According to Rashba the waste must not be visible. If the waste produces a foul odor a separation or the fact that the waste is in a different domain does not permit one to read shema. According to some just like a separation is effective for the waste it is also effective regarding smell.

3. If a small courtyard is breached entirely to a large courtyard and the larger courtyard is wider than the smaller one on both ends – the smaller courtyard is not considered a house to itself since it is open entirely to the larger courtyard but since the larger one extends beyond both ends of the smaller courtyard it is considered to be a separate house. Therefore, if there is waste in the larger courtyard it is prohibited to read shema in the smaller courtyard until he properly distances himself from the waste. If the waste is in the smaller courtyard one may read shema in the larger courtyard without distancing one’s self as long as it does not smell.

 4. If waste of a dog or pig was placed on animal hide one must distance himself from it as one would distance himself from human waste but if was not placed on animal hide it is the same as waste of other creatures from which one is not obligated to distance himself if it does not smell. In the event that it does smell it is the same as human waste.

 5. Soft waste from a donkey that just returned from the road, the waste of a cat, a weasel and putrid animal carcass have the same halacha as human waste. One who is traveling on a road and sees animal waste – if it does not smell he does not have to be concerned that it is from a donkey. If he is near the city there are those who say that he must be concerned since the majority of the animals in that area are donkeys in a place where donkeys are common.

6. The Yerushalmi prohibits reading shema in front of the mei raglayim of a donkey that returned from the road and in front of the waste of chickens that is red.

 7. The waste of chickens that run around in the house is categorized as the waste of creatures but a chicken coop has a foul odor and is treated the same as human waste.

 8. It is prohibited to read in front of a garbage heap that has a putrid smell.

 9. If one passed gas it is prohibited to study Torah until the smell dissipates. If the gas came from a friend it is permitted to study Torah since there is no alternative being that some students study while others sleep and pass gas while they are sleeping. However, it is prohibited to read shema until the smell dissipates.

         Siman 80 Seif 1

1. It is better for one who is certain that he will not be able to restrain himself from passing gas for shema and shemone esrei to allow the time for shema and shemone esrei to pass than to daven with a body that is not clean. If the time for davening passes he is considered an ones and may daven shemone esrei twice at mincha. If he thinks he will be able to restrain himself from passing gas for shema he should put on his tefillin between אהבה רב ה and shema and recite the beracha at that time.

        Siman 81 Seif 1

1. When a child reaches the age at which other children his age are capable of consuming an olive’s volume of grain within the amount of time that an adult could eat a pras, it is necessary to distance one’s self from his waste or mei raglayim.

2. If one was reading shema and sees waste in front of him he should walk to a place so that the waste will be four amos behind him. If that is not possible, for example, there is a river or something else in front of him, he should move so that it is four amos to his side and he is only required to resume where he left off. According to Rabbeinu Yonah if this occurred in a place where he should have realized that there could be waste he must start again from the beginning.

          Siman 82 Seif 2

1. Waste that is so dry that if one were to throw it it would crumble is treated like dirt and it is permitted to read shema in its presence as long as it does not produce a foul odor. Some say that it is not treated like dirt until it crumbles by simply rolling it without throwing it and this opinion is correct.

 2. One may not read shema in the presence of mei raglayim that became absorbed in the ground if it could wet one’s hand. Some maintain that it must be moist enough that it could wet a surface to the degree that the second surface can make a third surface wet and this opinion may be relied upon.

            Siman 83 Seifim 5

1. It is prohibited to daven in front of an old bathroom even if it was cleaned of waste. It appears to me that this applies when there are no walls but if there are walls even if there is waste it is permitted to daven nearby without concerns as long as there is no foul odor.

2. If an area was designated as a bathroom but it was not yet used as such it is permitted to read shema opposite it but not inside of it. 

3. If one declared, “This room will be a bathroom” and then he declared regarding another room, “And this as well” they share the same halacha. If he declared regarding the second room, “And this house” without saying, “And this as well” it is uncertain whether the second room was designated as a bathroom, therefore, one should not read shema there but if one did the mitzvah was fulfilled.

4. If a bathroom is dug out of the ground and the mouth of the pit is four amos from the pit and it is sloped so that the waste and mei raglayim rolls away it is treated like a closed bathroom and one may read shema near the opening, assuming that there is no odor and that mei raglayim does not land on the ground around the opening. But if mei raglayim lands outside of the pit occasionally it is prohibited to contemplate Torah matters and certainly to read shema.

5. it is permitted to read shema opposite a bench with a hole used to relieve one’s self. The reason is that there is no waste on the bench and the pail that catches the waste is not stored directly beneath the bench. Additionally, the hole in the bench is kept covered with a board. One who reads shema in a place that it may not be read must reread shema.

           Siman 84 Seif 1

1. It is permitted to read shema in a new bathhouse that was never used. Regarding an old bathhouse – in the outer room where people are clothed it is permitted to read shema, in the middle room where some people are dressed and some people are not one may greet others but he may not read shema or daven and it is permitted to contemplate Torah matters there. In the inner room where people are not covered even greeting others is prohibited. (It is prohibited to answer אמן in a bathhouse.)

          Siman 85 Seifim 2

1. One may not walk through a dirty alleyway and put his hand over his mouth to read shema. Even if one was reading shema as he approached the alleyway he must interrupt when he reaches there. When he exits he resumes from where he paused even if he was in the alleyway for the amount of time needed to finish all of shema. Some maintain that he must return to the beginning and that is the halacha.

2. It is prohibited to even think about Torah matters in a bathroom, bathhouse or dirty place, meaning one that has waste or mei raglayim. One may not even study the halachos related to a bathhouse in the bathhouse. Mundane matters may be discussed even in lashon kodesh. Similarly, nicknames of Hashem like רחום and נאמן may be pronounced in these places but names that may not be erased may not be mentioned there. If it is necessary to restrain a person from doing something that is prohibited there it is permitted even in lashon kodesh and even regarding sacred matters. In places where one is permitted to think about Torah matters it is also permitted to issue a halachic ruling as long as one does not explain the rationale behind the ruling.

          Siman 86 Seif 1

1. One is required to distance himself from smelly water or soaking water that is used to soak flax or cannabis the same as one distances himself from waste.

          Siman 87 Seifim 3

1. One must distance himself from a pot used for waste or a pot used for mei raglayim that is made from earthenware or wood as one would distance himself from waste even if he poured water into the pot. If they were made from metal, glass or lined earthenware it is permitted if they are washed well.

 2. If a pot made from earthenware and wood is turned on its mouth according to some it is permitted and according to others it is prohibited and halacha is in accordance with those who maintain that it is prohibited.

3. It is permitted to read shema in a house that contains waste or mei raglayim or a pot used to collect waste as long as one distances himself according to the guidelines spelled out in siman 79. Similarly, if one covered it with another utensil it is permitted to daven even though it is in the same room since it is considered as though it is buried.

           Siman 88 Seif 1

1. Anyone who is tamei may study Torah, read shema or daven except for the ba’al keri. Ezra excluded the ba’al keri from all others who are tamei and prohibited them from studying Torah, reading shema and davening until they immerse so that the Torah scholars would not be together with wives like chickens. Later they nullified the enactment and restored the original halacha that even a ba’al keri may study Torah, read shema and daven without immersing or washing in nine kav of water and this is our custom. Some write that while a woman is experiencing a flow she should not enter the Bais HaKnesses, daven, mention Hashem’s Name or touch a Sefer Torah. Others maintain that she is permitted in all of these activities and that is the position to be followed. The custom in these countries, however, is in accordance with the first opinion. During her clean days the custom is to be lenient. Even in those places that are stringent on the yomim noraim or days that are similar when many people gather together in the Bais HaKnesses women are allowed to go to the Bais HaKnesses with the other women since it would be a cause of sadness for everyone to gather together and for them to be outside. 

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