As I understand it, when reciting the Shema by yourself, you add the words "Kel Melech Ne'eman" beforehand; but when praying with a minyan, you don't.

How "with the minyan" do you have to be? What if you start your Shema a minute earlier than everyone? A minute later? What if you have to daven fast, so you're up to Shema while they're still in Psukei D'Zimra (opening Psalms)? Or you got there late (due to some mitzva-related circumstance beyond your control) and you're saying Shema while they're almost done? Does it all depend on whether you hear the Chazan say the concluding "Hashem Elokeichem Emes"?

  • Some minhagim say either to always or never say Kel Meelech Ne'eman (I always say it, even with a minyan, per R' Hamburger) Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 0:51

3 Answers 3



A number of years ago I asked this question of a well-known posek and received the undocumented reply that if one is physically in the room with the tzibur that is sufficient to "avoid saying 'Kel Melech Ne'eman'". I.e. "we" are not makpidim to say exactly 248 words and rather stick with the aforementioned rule in S"A to only add those words when reciting Sh'ma alone.


  • ברוך שכיוונתי. See my comment to Alex's answer.
    – Shalom
    Commented Jun 28, 2010 at 19:39
  • Can you tell us who the posek was? Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 16:24

Shaarei Teshuva 61:2 says that as long as your in the middle of shma, it's good enough to be mashlim for 248. Mashma that if you haven't reached shma yet (or are past it), you don't get the 248 package from the shliach tzibur and you've got to do it yourself through AM"N or whatever other minhag you have.


Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 61:3) seems to associate "Kel Melech Ne'eman" with the three words that the chazan repeats at the end of Shema (i.e., that the former substitutes, where necessary, for the latter). So it would seem that the answer to your last question is yes.

  • 2
    That seems to be the reasoning, but it doesn't necessarily define the parameters of the enactment. It could be that Kel Melech Ne'eman is said "b'yachid", and "b'yachid" depends on something other than hearing Hashem Elokeichem Emes. Also -- suppose for whatever reason I go to shul and sit down and start learning. 7AM, people come in to daven, I just sit and listen, I hear Hashem Elokeichem Emes at 7:25AM, I just sit and listen; 8AM, everyone else leaves shul; 9AM, I get up and daven in the empty room. Do I say Kel Melech Ne'eman now?
    – Shalom
    Commented Jun 28, 2010 at 15:25
  • As YDK commented, no, it only works if your recitation of Shema overlaps, at least partially, the tzibur's.
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 28, 2010 at 20:39
  • Alex, you're saying the criterion is "any portion of your Shema overlaps with any portion of the tzibur's Shema"? What if I finish and leave before hearing the chazan's Hashem Elokeichem Emes?
    – Shalom
    Commented Jun 29, 2010 at 18:35
  • OK, you're right, that was inexpertly phrased. What I meant is "you hear 'Hashem Elokeichem Emes' at some point between your own recitation of 'Shema Yisrael' and 'Veyatziv.'"
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 29, 2010 at 19:52

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