In the morning and evening services, we recite the part of the Torah dealing with tzitzit:

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the people of Israel, and have them make fringes in the corners of their garments... and you will see [the fringes], and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and not explore [what] leads you astray... [Num. 15:37-41]

But we don't wear tzitzit in the evening. That's because the Torah says, "Ur'item oto -- And you will see [the tzitzit]" and thus remember the commandments. The rabbis concluded that this mitzvah is only for the daytime, when you can see clearly.

So why do we recite this section at night also? Because it's part of the full Shema, which we must recite twice a day. And why is it part of the full Shema? The Talmud says:

Rabbi Yehudah ben Habiba said: They included the section on fringes [in the Shema] because it makes reference to ... the Exodus from Egypt, the obligation of the commandments, and [a warning against] being led astray. [Ber. 12b]

Why didn't the rabbis write a substitute passage that mentions these things, but does not mention tzitzit, since they are out of place in the evening service?

  • 1
    – Joel K
    Jan 7, 2020 at 16:30
  • 3
    Are you asking why the Rabbis didn't find such a paragraph? Perhaps it doesn't exist, or is too long. Or are you asking why they didn't compose their own? The presumptuousness of composing a paragraph to replace a passage of Torah seems evident to me.
    – Ze'ev
    Jan 7, 2020 at 16:51
  • The siddur is full of passages that are not Torah quotes. Jan 7, 2020 at 17:03
  • Why aren't you also asking why it is recited during the day? What does Tzitzis have to do with the rest of Shema? Jan 7, 2020 at 20:26
  • @Salmononius2 -- When you wear them, it makes sense to talk about them in the liturgy, no? Jan 7, 2020 at 20:33

1 Answer 1


It is not for Tsitsit but , but it is a part of the Shema, the set of the 3 paragraphs. I

See Berachot 21a

Rab Judah said: If a man is in doubt whether he has recited the Shema', he need not recite it again. If he I in doubt whether he has said 'true and firm', or not, he should say it again. What is the reason? - the recital of the Shema' is ordained only by the rabbis, the saying of 'true and firm' is a scriptural ordinance. R' Joseph raised an objection to this, 'and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up'. - said Abaye to him: that was written with reference to words of torah. We have learnt: A ba'al keri says mentally, and says no blessing either before or after at meals he says the grace after but not the grace before. Now if you assume that 'true and firm' is a scriptural regulation, let him say the blessing after the Shema'? - Why should he say [the blessing after]? If it is in order to mention the going forth from Egypt , that is already mentioned in the Shema' {this is in the third paragraph}! But then let him say the former {the Shita Mekubetset says that they tell about Emet Veyatsiv, and note that the Baal Keri says mentally KS, despite that it's Derabanan (following the line of Shmuel). And even if the hazkarat yetsiat Mitsrayim is Deorayita, the Gemara doesn't ask to say it by the mouth, it's enough to say it mentally}, and he need not say the latter {the Shita Mekubetset says that they they tell about Vayomer.}? - The recital of Shema' is preferable, because it has two points. R' Eleazar says: if one is in doubt whether he has recited the Shema' or not, he says the Shema' again.

In this passage we see that it would be possible to mention the Exodus from Egypt by an other passage, e.g. the Beracha of Emet Veyatsiv, for Arvit Emet Veemuna, but it's preferable to mention it inside the Kriat Shema. Note that even in KS of the day, the issue of mentioning Tsitsit is obviously not Deorayita and maybe not Derabanan. Vayomer is mentioned in Mishna in the second Chapter of Berachot as said after and not before Vehaya Yim Shamoa because it addresse a Mitsva made in the day, Misvat Tsitsit. (note that the Mishna doesn't say that Vayomer has to be said because of Mitsvat Tsitsit). So to order the 3 Parashiot of Shema, Vayomer is the last because it mentions the Mitsvat Tsitsit that is a Mitsva of the day (Rashi in Mishna). But the Gemara quoted above shows that a Baal Keri says it mentally because of the Yetsiat Mitsrayim, and we understand from the Gemara that for the same reason the Baal Keri says it mentally, even at night because the duty of mentioning the Exodus is even in night, according to Rabbi Eleazar Ben Azaria (last Mishna of the first chapter) and we follow his line. See Rambam Ahava 1.3 and Or Sameach.

See also this link for the Gemara Berachot 21a.

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