Is one required to recite Kriyat Shema with the tune of Torah reading? I know it says so in Talmidei Rabbenu Yonah on the Rif Brachoth 8b, however, as someone who learned Hebrew later in life, it is difficult for me to focus on precise pronunciation with the cantillation. Obviously, it is the ideal, but is it a halachic requirement?

  • What is "Yonah 8b"?
    – Double AA
    Sep 2, 2021 at 1:42
  • Sorry, I edited the question to be more clear. It was a reference to Talmidei Rabbenu Yonah which is a source that was cited elsewhere. I know the Tur and Shulchan Aruch share this view, however, apparently Rama says that the Minhag Ashkenaz is not to say it with cantillation. Sep 2, 2021 at 1:54
  • I'm guessing your source for the "Talmidei Rabbenu Yonah 8b" is cite note 60 to Halachipedia's Kriyat Shema article. I think they mean Talmid Rabbenu Yonah's commentary to Rif's Berachot 8b: "אומרים שמע ישראל ולא היו מפסיקין. כלומר שלא היו קורין אותה בנחת עם הטעמים שלה כמו שאנו נוהגין היום שעיקר מצות ק"ש הוא לקרותה עם הטעמים שלה" (italic emphasis mine).
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 2, 2021 at 3:11
  • One should also know the correct dikduk of every word to make sure one understands it properly.
    – interested
    Sep 2, 2021 at 15:18

1 Answer 1


The Mishnah Berura 61:38 says clearly that one shouldn’t say with the cantillations if it will take away from his concentration

בכך - ובלבד שיכוין כי הנגינה למי שלא הורגל בה מפסיד הכונה:


  • (1) The Mishnah Berura's comment may only be relevant for where it is not obligatory (i.e. in Ashkenazi communities), for those who non-the-less choose to be מדקדקים about it (the s.v. בכך is for the end of Rema's gloss). (2) Based on Mishnah Berura's previous comment (61:37, s.v. כן), one shouldn’t say it with the melody (הנגינה) of the cantillation, if it will take away from his concentration. One is still be obligated to make sure to pause in the proper places: "אך שצריך ליזהר לפסוק במקום הראוי להפסיק לפי הענין כדי שיהיה טעם והבנה לדבריו".
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 10, 2021 at 6:48

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