The Gemorah in Brachos Daf 2a asks two questions right away after learning the Mishnah. The second is: Why is it that the Mishnah taught about the time at night for Krias Shema first - really we should have taught the time for the day first? (Tosfos justifies this question by pointing out that since Karbonos start by day, the order should have been the same here, too, perhaps since prayer is in place of the Karbonos.)

The Gemorah gives two answers to this:

  1. Because the Torah says "... u'b'shachbecha u'b'kumecha." ("... and when you lie down, and when you arise.") regarding Krias Shema - therefore we teach the time of night first.

  2. Because, in describing Creation, the Torah says "...vayehi erev, vayehi boker ..." ("... and it was evening, and it was morning ...") Since it spoke about night first, so does the Gemorah regarding Krias Shema.

The question is, what significance is there in understanding the Mishnah that the Gemorah had to give specifically these two answers? The first answer I can understand. However the second - what does it have to do with Krias Shema? Why should we refer to Creation as a way to teach that we should first deal with the timing of Krias Shema at night before day? What does Creation have to do with Krias Shema?

2 Answers 2


No source on this, but my thought is that the gemara is trying to say that since vayehi erev, vayehi boker, we should start all things with night first.

  • 2
    Me too. (+1.) More precisely, since days of creation started wit the night, so dose every subsequent day, and so nighttime sh'ma comes before daytime sh'ma.
    – msh210
    Oct 31, 2012 at 1:58

I think Tosafos (ד"ה אי) provides an explanation which shows the relevance of the second answer.

אי אמרת בשלמא דסמיך אקרא דבשכבך א"כ אינו מקפיד קרא אלא אק"ש אלא א"א דסמיך אקרא דברייתו של עולם א"כ קפיד אכל מילי א"כ סיפא דקתני וכו

It's fine if you say that [the Mishnah] relied on the verse of "when you lie down", as then the verse is only particular about Kerias Shema. But if you say that [the Mishnah] relied on the verse of the creation of the world, it is thus particular about everything and therefore the end [of the Mishnah] which states etc.

In other words Tosafos looks to the Gemara's follow-up question. The Gemara asked that once we established that the Mishnah should talk about night before day, it should continue to talk about night before day in the next Mishnah when it discusses the blessings. Tosafos points out that if we accept the Gemara's first answer above then this question is not very strong. If the whole source for the Mishnah's order is the verse that speaks about Kerias Shema then it would seem that the order of night before day should only apply to Kerias Shema. Why should we list the night blessings before the day blessings just because when it comes to Shema we list night before day?

If, however, we accept the Gemara's second answer, the basis for the order has nothing to do with Shema in the first place. It must be that since the Torah describes night before day by creation, everything should always be described with night preceding day. Therefore the blessings too should be ordered thus. So the answer to your question is that creation indeed does not have anything to do with Shema, and it is not being used as a source for the order of the discussion of Shema; rather it is being used as a source for all orderings.

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