(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org

Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 00:05:09 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Krias Shma

A quick response to Stuart Pilichowski who in Bais Medrashi Vol 1 n83 asks
How are we allowed to interrupt the Biblical commandment of reciting the
Shma with the rabbinic commandment of saying 'Praise be the name of his
kingdom for ever and ever'"? Furthermore, have we fulfilled our Biblical
obligation is we didn't say this verse?

The answer to these questions is more or less explicitly stated in Rambam
Shma Chapters 1 and 2:

A) The Biblical obligation is only to recite the 3 chapters (1:1-1:3)
Furthermore it is only omission of blessings that invalidates the shma
(1:7). The recital of "Praise be the name.." is only a custom(1:4) and its
omission obviously does not invalidate the Biblical commandment

B) It is permissable to interrupt the Shma in the middle of a chapter to
say hello to someone you are afraid of (like a King or thief). Such an
interruption does not invalidate the recital(2:15-2:16).

Furthermore, from what I understand, the only reason an interruption
invalidates the shma is because
the word SHMA connotes intentional hearing while speaking with
interruptions appears as a TRANSIENT reading (without intention)(2:8).

Based on the above it would seem that interrupting the Shma to EXPOUND on
verses does NOT invalidate the recital. As an example if after reading each
verse I recited the Rashis or Gmarrahs on that verse then perhaps I would have
fulfilled my obligation (I am not getting into the issue of how desirable
this is--only if I fulfilled my obligation).

Since the recital of "Praise be the name..." is a commentary on the first
verse, namely, that all Jews(descendants of Jacob) acknowledge Gods oneness
(Shma 1:4) it follows that this is not a real interruption and the recital
is valid.

Russell Jay Hendel;Phd ASA; rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu
Moderator Rashi Is Simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi