Sunday, July 15, 2012

On Saying Shemah at the Start of Davening

I love the Artscroll Siddyur.  There, I said it.  I've tried many different holy helpers for davening  and find the traditional Artscroll (not the new, expanded edition they put out a few years ago) to be the best.

This morning I learned from a footnote that there was a time when a ruler forbade the Jews from saying Shemah.  He set up guards to make sure it wasn't recited.  This is why it was set up for Jews to say at least the first line of Shemah (which fulfills your obligation in a pinch) at home before going to shul. After the decree passed the tradition of saying the start of Shemah before davening Shacharit was kept and moved into the siddur and the synagogue.

(A similar reason is given for why we say the first line of Shemah in Mussaf of Shabbos.)


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