“Slicing the Shema”

A good summary is to be found here, on the Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash website.

In short, “…. ten men who prayed alone can subsequently fulfill their obligations of Kaddish, Barkhu, and Kedusha. How so? One is chosen to say Kaddish and Barkhu and the first blessing of Keriat Shema (until "Barukh ata Hashem yotzer ha-me'orot"), then he skips until Shemoneh Esrei, and begins Shemoneh Esrei aloud and says Kedusha. Since only a small piece (or "slice") of Keriat Shema is said, this procedure is referred to as "slicing the Shema" ("porsin al Shema").

And “This law applies as well to one who arrives late to synagogue. After saying Pesukei De-zimra, he may say Kaddish and Barkhu and then continue with his prayer. When he reaches Shemoneh Esrei, he should recite aloud until after Kedusha, then continue quietly.”

Has anyone ever seen someone do it? I have never seen it despite it being a chapter in Shulchan Oruch. Is this (a) because the opportunity never presents itself, (b) because it is not practised nowdays (c) because people don’t know about it or (d) another reason?

  • 1
    Isn't option b) imPlied by the question?
    – WAF
    Jan 16, 2012 at 22:03
  • @WAF, I think he means the normative "not practiced" rather than the positive one - more like "not communally sanctioned."
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 16, 2012 at 22:07
  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/17332/759
    – Double AA
    Jun 27, 2012 at 18:38

1 Answer 1


I saw it once at my shul on a Sunday morning. After minyan there is usually some people that learn in the beit midrash afterwards. One time, someone came in and had missed minyan. He put on his tefillin and started davening to himself. When he got to Yishtabach, he klopped on the shulchan and finished it out loud and said barchu. Then he continued to himself. When he got to shmone esrei, he klopped again and said the first three brachot out loud including kedusha then continued the rest of davening to himself.

As I knew what was going on, I was smiling to myself at how cool this was :)

  • I see it all the time a guy whop comes late to mincha erev Shabbos Jan 17, 2012 at 0:09
  • 2
    @simchashatorah Technically, I don't think this is "prisoh al shema". See the source in the question which does not mention mincha. What please exactly happens and where are the tzibbur up to when he arrives? Jan 17, 2012 at 22:22

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