SECTION 70 Those who are Exempt from Reciting the Shema. (1–5)

סימן ע מִי הֵם הַפְּטוּרִים מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבוֹ ה' סְעִיפִים:

1 Women and bondmen are exempt from the recitation of the Shema1 because it is a positive commandment whose observance is dependent on time, for the mitzvah applies only during the time at which people lie down and rise.2 Nevertheless, it is proper to teach [women] to accept the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven and recite at least the first verse. Similarly, they are exempt from [reciting] the blessings for the Shema, for they, too, have a fixed time. Those for the evening [may be recited only] until sunrise and those for the morning [may be recited only] until [the end of] the fourth hour [of the day], as explained in sec. 58[:9-10].

By contrast, [women] are obligated to observe [the mitzvah of] recalling the Exodus from Egypt, for this is a positive commandment whose observance is not dependent on time, since it is applicable by day and by night. They should therefore recite the blessing that was ordained concerning the Exodus, i.e., [the blessing] Emes veyatziv.3 And since they are obligated to recite Shemoneh Esreh, as will be explained in sec. 106[:2], they must also link the blessing Gaal Yisrael to Shemoneh Esreh. (If they so desire, they may also recite the other blessings of the Shema and also Pesukei DeZimrah and its blessings.)4

א נָשִׁים וַעֲבָדִים פְּטוּרִים מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע,א,1 מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁהַזְּמַן גְּרָמָא,ב שֶׁאֵין מִצְוָתָהּ אֶלָּא בִּזְמַן שְׁכִיבָה וּבִזְמַן קִימָה.ג,2 וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, נָכוֹן הוּא לְלַמְּדָם שֶׁיְּקַבְּלוּ עֲלֵיהֶם עֹל מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם וְיִקְרְאוּ לְפָחוֹת פָּסוּק רִאשׁוֹן.ד וְכֵן פְּטוּרִין מִבִּרְכוֹת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהֶם גַּם כֵּן זְמַן קָבוּעַ, שֶׁל עֶרֶב עַד נֵץ הַחַמָּה וְשֶׁל שַׁחַר – עַד ד' שָׁעוֹתה כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן נ"ח.ו וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם חַיָּבִין בִּזְכִירַת יְצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם, שֶׁהוּא מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁלֹּא הַזְּמַן גְּרָמָא שֶׁמִּצְוָתָהּ בַּיּוֹם וּבַלַּיְלָה.ז לְפִיכָךְ יֵשׁ לָהֶם לְבָרֵךְ הַבְּרָכָה שֶׁנִּתְקְנָה עַל יְצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם שֶׁהוּא "אֱמֶת וְיַצִּיב".3 וְכֵיוָן שֶׁהֵם חַיָּבִים בִּתְפִלַּת י"ח כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן (ק"י) [ק"ו]ח – יֵשׁ לָהֶם גַּם כֵּן לִסְמֹךְ גְּאֻלָּה לִתְפִלָּה (א) (וְאִם רָצוּט לְבָרֵךְ גַּם שְׁאָר בְּרָכוֹת שֶׁל קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וְגַם פְּסוּקֵי דְּזִמְרָה וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָ – הָרְשׁוּת בְּיָדָםי):4

2 Minors are exempt from the recitation of the Shema5 even though it involves the acceptance of the Kingdom of Heaven, just as they are exempt from the observance of all other mitzvos as long as they have not reached an educable age.6 Some authorities maintain that even if [a minor] has reached such an age, [the Sages] did not obligate his father to train him [to recite] the Shema and its blessings because he is not in the company of [his son] at the time the Shema should be recited in the evening, and in the morning [the child] is asleep. It is appropriate to follow the first opinion.7 All authorities agree that [a father] is obligated to train [his son] to recite She­moneh Esreh if he has reached an educable age, as will be explained in sec. 106[:3].

ב קְטַנִּים פְּטוּרִים מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַעיא,5 אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ קַבָּלַת מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם, כְּמוֹ שֶׁפְּטוּרִים מִשְּׁאָר כָּל הַמִּצְווֹת.יב וְהוּא שֶׁלֹּא הִגִּיעַ לְחִנּוּךְ.יג,6 וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםיד שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ הִגִּיעַ לְחִנּוּךְ – לֹא הִטִּילוּ עַל אָבִיו לְחַנְּכוֹ בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָ, לְפִי שֶׁאֵין מָצוּי אֶצְלוֹ בִּזְמַן קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע בָּעֶרֶב וְיָשֵׁן הוּא בַּבֹּקֶר. וְרָאוּי לִנְהֹג כַּסְּבָרָא הָרִאשׁוֹנָה.טו,7 וּלְדִבְרֵי הַכֹּל חַיָּב לְחַנְּכוֹ בִּתְפִלָּה אִם הִגִּיעַ לְחִנּוּךְ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ק"ו:טז

3 When a person marries a maiden, he is exempt from the recitation of the Shema, its blessings, and Shemoneh Esreh (see sec. 106[:1]) for three days after the marriage if it had not yet been consummated,8 because he is preoccupied with his thoughts. [This is considered as] preoccupation with a mitzvah, for he is thinking about her maidenhood.

These three days are counted in addition to the day of the wedding. Thus if the wedding was on the fourth day of the week, he is exempt from the recitation of the Shema from the night preceding Wednesday9 until Saturday night, but not on Saturday night itself. [The rationale is that] after three days, his feelings have subsided and he is no longer preoccupied with his thoughts.

When did the above [exemption] apply? In earlier eras, when people would concentrate effectively while reciting the Shema. Nowadays, by contrast, when people at large do not concentrate as ought to be done, a person who marries a maiden should also recite the Shema, its blessings, and Shemoneh Esreh, just as the other members of the wedding party are exempt [from these obligations] only during the celebration, as explained in sec. 38[:6].

The laws relating to a drunken man’s [obligation to] recite the Shema are explained in sec. 99[:1].10

ג הַכּוֹנֵס אֶת הַבְּתוּלָה פָּטוּר מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָיז וּמִן הַתְּפִלָּה (עַיֵּן סִימָן ק"ויח) כָּל ג' יָמִים אַחַר כְּנִיסָתוֹ לַחֻפָּה אִם לֹא עָשָׂה מַעֲשֶׂה,יט,8 מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא טָרוּד בְּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ טִרְדַּת מִצְוָה שֶׁמְּחַשֵּׁב עַל עֵסֶק הַבְּתוּלִים.כ וְג' יָמִים אֵלּוּ הֵם לְבַד מִיּוֹם הַחֻפָּה, כְּגוֹן אִם הָיְתָה הַחֻפָּה בְּיוֹם ד' – פָּטוּר מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע מִלֵּיל ד'9 עַד לֵיל מוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת וְלֹא עַד בִּכְלָל,כא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלְּאַחַר ג' יָמִים כְּבָר נִתְקָרְרָה דַּעְתּוֹ וְאֵין טָרוּד עוֹד בְּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ.כב

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? בִּזְמַן הָרִאשׁוֹנִים שֶׁהָיוּ מְכַוְּנִים הֵיטֵב בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע, אֲבָל עַכְשָׁו שֶׁגַּם שְׁאָר בְּנֵי אָדָם אֵינָם מְכַוְּנִים כָּרָאוּי – גַּם הַכּוֹנֵס אֶת הַבְּתוּלָה קוֹרֵא קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָכג וּמִתְפַּלֵּל,כד כִּשְׁאָר בְּנֵי הַחֻפָּה שֶׁאֵינָם פְּטוּרִים אֶלָּא בִּשְׁעַת הַמִּשְׁתֶּה כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ל"ח.כה

וְדִין שִׁכּוֹר לִקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע – יִתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן צ"ט:כו,10

4 If one was occupied with [pressing] communal matters and the time for the recitation of the Shema arrived, he should not make an interruption. Instead, he should complete his task and later recite the Shema, if the time [for its recitation has not passed].

When did the above [exemption] apply? In earlier eras, when people would tend to public needs for the sake of Heaven. Nowadays, by contrast, an individual may be exempted from the recitation of the Shema only if no one else can undertake the task. In such a case, even if he is merely engaged in rescuing his townsmen’s financial resources, he may personally continue to engage in the mitzvah without interruption.

Nevertheless, it is desirable that he recite the first verse [of the Shema] and [the declaration] Baruch shem kevod malchuso leolam vaed, if that recitation is possible at the site of his activities for the public good, without requiring him to interrupt them.

At the very least, he is obligated to recall the Exodus from Egypt even after the time for the recitation of the Shema has passed, for this is an independent mitzvah which applies throughout the day. Therefore, when he has finished tending to the community’s needs, if the fourth hour of the day has passed, he should recite a Scriptural passage that recalls the Exodus from Egypt, for [now] he may no longer recite the blessing Emes veyatziv, as stated in sec. 58[:10].

ד הָיָה עוֹסֵק בְּצָרְכֵי רַבִּים וְהִגִּיעַ זְמַן קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע – לֹא יַפְסִיק, אֶלָּא יִגְמֹר עִסְקֵיהֶם וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִקְרָא אִם נִשְׁאַר עֵת לִקְרוֹת.כז

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? בַּדּוֹרוֹת הָרִאשׁוֹנִים שֶׁהָיוּ עוֹסְקִים עִמָּהֶם לְשֵׁם שָׁמַיִם, אֲבָל עַכְשָׁו אֵין לִפְטֹר מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן אֵין מִי שֶׁיִּשְׁתַּדֵּל אֶלָּא הוּא, שֶׁאָז אֲפִלּוּ עוֹסֵק בְּהַצָּלַת מָמוֹנָם לְבַד – עוֹסֵק בְּמִצְוָה הוּא וְלֹא יַפְסִיק.כח

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, טוֹב שֶׁיִּקְרָא פָּסוּק רִאשׁוֹן וּ"בָרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד", אִם אֶפְשָׁר לִקְרוֹת בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁהוּא עוֹסֵק שֶׁלֹּא יִצְטָרֵךְ לְהַפְסִיק עִסְקֵיהֶם.כט

וְעַל כָּל פָּנִים חַיָּב לְהַזְכִּיר יְצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם אֲפִלּוּ לְאַחַר שֶׁעָבַר זְמַן קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע, שֶׁזּוֹ הִיא מִצְוָה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָהּ, וּמִצְוָתָהּ כָּל הַיּוֹם. וְלָכֵן לְאַחַר שֶׁגָּמַר עִסְקֵיהֶם – יֹאמַר אֵיזֶה פָּרָשָׁה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ יְצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם אִם כְּבָר עָבְרָה שָׁעָה ד',ל שֶׁאֵינוֹ אוֹמֵר עוֹד בִּרְכַּת "אֱמֶת וְיַצִּיב" כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן נ"ח:לא

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5 If one was engaged in eating (even a light meal), or in a court case (even the delivery of the verdict), or if he was in the bathhouse (even if only to release perspiration), or he was taking a haircut, or examining hides, or he was engaged in similar activities of possibly extended duration, as will be explained in sec. 232,11 he must stop and recite [the Shema]. This precautionary measure was instituted even if there is time to recite [the Shema] after he completes these activities, lest they continue to involve him and the time for the recitation of the Shema passes.

[This law] does not resemble [the law applying] to Shemoneh Esreh, for which there is no requirement to cease [such activities], as explained in the above source. [The Sages] ruled more stringently with regard to the Shema, because its recitation is a Scriptural obligation. Accordingly, [when the above activities are interrupted for the Shema,] one may recite it without its blessings, for their recitation is also a Rabbinic ordinance.

When does the above [requirement to interrupt one’s activity] apply? When one began it at a prohibited [time]; i.e., one began to partake of [a meal12] within half an hour before dawn,13 or entered the bathhouse or the barbershop (or the tannery) to examine hides or [began] another similar task after dawn.14 For before dawn it is permitted to enter a bathhouse or barbershop,15 even directly before dawn, as explained in sec. 89[:8]. (After dawn, by contrast, it is forbidden to become involved with one’s own needs until he has said Shemoneh Esreh, as explained there. The same possibly applies to the recitation of the Shema, for it involves the acceptance of the Kingdom of Heaven.

([Engaging in such activities] is not comparable to eating [before reciting She­moneh Esreh],16 for in that instance, [continuing to eat is forbidden] because [first] one must pray “for the sake of [one’s] blood.”17)

If, however, one began the activity when it was permitted, and there will be time to recite the Shema after he completes the activity, there is no need to cease, even to recite the Shema. [Nevertheless,] if one fears that the activity will continue for longer than expected and the time for the recitation of the Shema will pass, it is praiseworthy to stop and recite the Shema. This is not comparable to Shemoneh Esreh,18 which involves [requests for] mortal needs, as will be explained in sec. 232.19

Some authorities maintain that a person who is involved in a meal should interrupt it for the morning Shemoneh Esreh, even if he began at a permissible [time]. [The rationale is that the Sages] linked the prohibition against eating before prayer to a Scriptural prohibition, as it is written,20 “Do not eat over the blood,” which our Sages interpret21 to mean, “Do not eat before you have prayed for the sake of your blood,” as explained in sec. 89. (And since one must recite Shemoneh Esreh, one must also recite the Shema and its blessings, in order to link the blessing Gaal Yisrael to Shemoneh Esreh.)22 The halachah follows this view, as explained there.

ה הָיָה עוֹסֵק בַּאֲכִילָהלב (אֲפִלּוּ בִּסְעוּדָה קְטַנָּהלג), אוֹ שֶׁהָיוּ עוֹסְקִים בַּדִּין (אֲפִלּוּ בִּגְמַר דִּיןלד), אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה בַּמֶּרְחָץ (וַאֲפִלּוּ לְהַזִּיעַ בְּעָלְמָאלה), אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה עוֹסֵק בְּתִסְפֹּרֶת, אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה מְהַפֵּךְ בָּעוֹרוֹת, וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בַּעֲסָקִים אֵלּוּלו שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָחוּשׁ שֶׁמָּא יִמְשֹׁךְ בָּהֶם כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן רל"בלז,11 – צָרִיךְ לְהַפְסִיק וְלִקְרוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ שְׁהוּת לִקְרוֹת לְאַחַר שֶׁיִּגְמֹר עֲסָקִים אֵלּוּ, גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא יִמְשֹׁךְ בָּהֶם וְיַעֲבֹר זְמַן קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע.

וְאֵינָהּ דּוֹמָה לִתְפִלָּה שֶׁאִם הִתְחִיל אֵין צָרִיךְ לְהַפְסִיק כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר שָׁם, לְפִי שֶׁקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע הוּא מִן הַתּוֹרָה – הֶחֱמִירוּ בָּהּ יוֹתֵר, לְפִיכָךְ קוֹרְאָהּ בְּלֹא בִּרְכוֹתֶיהָ,לח שֶׁבִּרְכוֹתֶיהָ הֵם גַּם כֵּן מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים.

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? כְּשֶׁהִתְחִיל בְּאִסּוּר,לט דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁהִתְחִיל לֶאֱכֹל12 תּוֹךְ חֲצִי שָׁעָה לַעֲלוֹת הַשַּׁחַר,מ,13 אוֹ שֶׁנִּכְנַס לַמֶּרְחָץ אוֹ לְהִסְתַּפֵּר (אוֹ לַבֻּרְסְקִי) לַהֲפֹךְ בָּעוֹרוֹתמא אוֹ מְלָאכָה אַחֶרֶת כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן לְאַחַר שֶׁעָלָה עַמּוּד הַשַּׁחַר,14 שֶׁקֹּדֶם עֲלוֹת הַשַּׁחַר מֻתָּר לִכָּנֵס לַמֶּרְחָץ אוֹ לְהִסְתַּפֵּר15 אֲפִלּוּ בְּסָמוּךְ לַעֲלוֹת הַשַּׁחַר מַמָּשׁ כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן פ"טמב (אֲבָל לְאַחַר שֶׁעָלָה עַמּוּד הַשַּׁחַר – אָסוּר לְהִתְעַסֵּק בִּצְרָכָיו עַד שֶׁיִּתְפַּלֵּל כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר שָׁם, וְאֶפְשָׁר דְּהוּא הַדִּין לִקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע שֶׁהִיא קַבָּלַת מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם, וְלֹא דָּמִי לַאֲכִילָה דְּהַיְנוּ טַעֲמָא שֶׁיִּתְפַּלֵּל16 עַל דָּמוֹ[)].17 אֲבָל אִם הִתְחִיל בְּהֶתֵּרמג – אֵין צָרִיךְ לְהַפְסִיק אֲפִלּוּ לִקְרוֹת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע, אִם יֵשׁ שְׁהוּת לִקְרוֹת לְאַחַר שֶׁיִּגְמֹר. וְאִם הָיָה מִתְיָרֵאמד שֶׁמָּא יִמְשֹׁךְ וְיַעֲבֹר זְמַן קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּפָסַק וְקָרָא קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע – הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח, וְאֵינוֹ דּוֹמֶה לִתְפִלָּה18 שֶׁהוּא צֹרֶךְ הֶדְיוֹטמה כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן רל"ב.מו,19

וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםמז שֶׁהָעוֹסֵק בַּאֲכִילָה צָרִיךְ לְהַפְסִיק לִתְפִלַּת הַשַּׁחַר אֲפִלּוּ הִתְחִיל בְּהֶתֵּר, הוֹאִיל וְאִסּוּר אֲכִילָה קֹדֶם הַתְּפִלָּה הִסְמִיכוּהוּ עַל לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁבַּתּוֹרָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:מח,20 "לֹא תֹאכְלוּ עַל הַדָּם",21 לֹא תֹּאכְלוּ קֹדֶם שֶׁתִּתְפַּלְלוּ עַל דִּמְכֶםמט כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן פ"ט (ב) (וְכֵיוָן שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל – צָרִיךְ גַּם כֵּן לִקְרוֹת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָ, כְּדֵי לִסְמֹךְ גְּאֻלָּה לִתְפִלָּהנ).22 וְכֵן עִקָּר, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר שָׁם: