The Shema is a mitzvah d'oraita. So how is it that we can go by the later time of the Gra for sof zman kriat shema rather than the earlier time of the Magen Avraham?

It seems to me that this is a real Safek on a d'oraita which should be l'chumra, and no one should go by the zman of the Gra.

Can anyone explain why people are lenient?

  • Halachipedia, "Even though the primary time for the latest time of Shema is the third hour of the day according to the Gra, one should be strict for Magen Avraham to say before the third hour according to his calculation." So the question is why is the Gra's time primary? Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 8:49

2 Answers 2


Those who are lenient are following later rabbis who decided the Halacha in favor of the Gra, so it is not a doubt for them. Disputes only represent a doubt if they are left unresolved.

  • 3
    If you provide sources you are more likely to get scored
    – Dov
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 8:13
  • 1
    Though it's worth noting that not all rabbis rule this way and some do say to be strict for both positions
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 13:21
  • Saying to be strict for both positions does not conflict with saying the bottom line opinion is like the lenient position. The Mishna Berurah says one should say Shma as early as possible, so a dispute as to the latest time should not make such a difference.
    – N.T.
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 9:36
  • @N.T. And there's also nothing to lose by reading it late if you missed the earlier time so there's no proof that the bottom line opinion isn't like the earlier time. The point is just everyone should ask their rabbi for a ruling since Judaism isn't monolithic.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 21:00

Rav Moshe Fienstien holds that the minhag decides the halacha. (Few sources' 1 Dibros Moshe Brachos 22a)Thus the minhag was like the Gra therefore the halacha is like him. It's only a chumra to fulfill the Magen Avrahams shita as well.

  • 1
    Can you provide a source? Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 14:14
  • @israelreader there is a dibros somewhere that proves it. However I heard it from one of his talmidim.
    – Shlomy
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 14:17
  • So why did he bother writing all those responsa analysing classical halachic sources?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 14:28
  • @doubleaa what are you reffering to?
    – Shlomy
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 15:21
  • It's in Igros Moshe (both Shlomy's answer and AA's quip). Look it up in Yad Moshe.
    – Mordechai
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 15:36

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