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I recall seeing recommendations, in multiple Halachic discussions, that someone who's reciting a Scripturally-derived prayer alone that normally requires a minyan, e.g. the 13 Attributes of Mercy, one should say it with the trop. Apparently, this feature converts the recitation from prayer into Torah learning, so one isn't incorrectly subverting the minyan rule.

On the other hand, I also recall learning in school to recite the Keriat Shema with the trop as a standard practice.

  • Is my understanding of the function of trop in the first case correct?

  • Is it true that reciting Keriat Shema is best done with the trop?

  • If so, why doesn't the same function similarly de-prayerify the Keriat Shema?

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2 Answers 2

I have heard that Rav Yitzchak Hutner zt"l, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Chaim Berlin, discouraged reading Kerias Shema with the trop for exactly the reason you mentioned.

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Although Shema is not a prayer, it's a mitzva to read the Torah paragraphs. – YDK Jun 22 '11 at 19:16
Conversely, Chabad custom is not to allow the recitation of the 13 Attributes with trop when praying alone. – Alex Jun 23 '11 at 16:09
That's because Rav Hutner zatzal was following the minhag brought down by the Rema. צריך לקרות קריאת שמע בטעמים כמו שהם בתורה. הגה: אבל לא נהגו כן במדינות אלו, ומ"מ יד המדקדקים מחמירים בכך (Shulchan Arukh Orach Chaim 61:24). – Adam Mosheh Feb 19 '12 at 22:56
@AdamMosheh How do you know that was his reasoning? – Double AA Apr 3 '14 at 16:25
@DoubleAA – Because Ashkenazim tend to be biased in favor of their own minhagim, and our case seems to fit that tendency perfectly. – Adam Mosheh Apr 11 '14 at 0:39
  • Yes.
  • [null]
  • K'ri'as Sh'ma is not a prayer. It is properly Torah-reading, as reflected in the b'rachos we recite surrounding it.

(I will expand this later.)

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"[null]"????? – Dave Jun 30 '11 at 2:39
@Dave That is just a placeholder in the unordered list of 3 items. I didn't want to throw off the calibration on my third answer. – WAF Jun 30 '11 at 19:52
@WAF care to expand? – Hacham Gabriel Mar 2 '12 at 3:56

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