Monday, September 28, 2009

The Bedside Shma


Today we begin a new set of laws, briefer than our discussion about washing for bread. Today we begin to discuss the bedside recitation of Shma - קריאת שמע על המטה, kriat shma al hamitah.

The practice is to recite just the first paragraph of Shma - Shma Yisrael and v'Ahavta. However, one who did not recite Maariv must say the entire Shma, in order to fulfill the biblical mitzvah of reciting Shma at night.

There are those who suggest there is merit in reciting the complete Shma by one's bed, even if one already recited Maariv. Certainly, there is no loss in doing so.

(Code of Jewish Law Orach Chaim 239:1; Mishneh Berurah 239:1)

Have a great day,


  1. Good morning, Will you be using the term "kriat shemah al hamitah" to refer to the entire body of what we say before going to bed? And, while you refer to the "practice", I see different collections of things to say from siddur to siddur. Will you describe the core halachic requirements?


  2. Hi Michael,

    I do expect to talk about more than just the Shma, and perhaps a little about the issue of core vs. added practices.