There is a famous Rashi in Parashat Vayigash (46:29) where Rashi explains that Yaakov didn't cry on Yosef's shoulders because he was reciting Shema. He cryptically quotes this in the name of "Rabotenu," but I can't seem to find a chumash that brings the original source of Yaakov saying Shema. Anyone know of a source, perhaps in a Midrash somewhere?

3 Answers 3


Rabbi Avraham Berliner finds a few sources for this: Radak quotes it as a midrash, and we find an allusion to it in Derech Eretz Zuta 1 and in Tshuvos HaGe'onim (Lik) 45.


Chumash Shai Lamoreh in Sharey Tziyon says it comes from Midrash Agada as well as Teshuvos Hageonim (Simon 45 Teshuva 38) in the name of Mar Rav Yehudai Gaon. He says to see also Mesechtes Derech Eretz Zuta Perek Aleph and Maharsha Chiddushey Aggados to Yoma 19b.

  • Avodah Zarah Zuta? Maybe you mean Derech Eretz Zuta. (I have never heard of Avodah Zarah Zuta, but it is found in Derech Eretz Zuta, as I wrote in my answer.)
    – b a
    Dec 23, 2012 at 3:48
  • @ba Thanks, corrected. I guess the fasting was having an effect on me...
    – Michoel
    Dec 23, 2012 at 21:40
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    The Baal HaMechaber of the Chumash Shai Lamoreh writes in his introduction (printed at the end of Chumash Bereshit), that he collected the sources from other sefarim and does not take responsibility for them -- (not that this isn't a good answer, just that the sources weren't confirmed by him)
    – Menachem
    Dec 23, 2012 at 21:52

I belive the midrash is Breshit Rabba 99.

  • Are you referring to אלעזר בן אחוי אמר מכאן זכו ישראל לקרית שמע, בשעה שהיה יעקב אבינו נפטר מן העולם קרא לשנים עשר בניו אמ' להם אל ישראל שבשמים אביכם, שמא יש בלבבכם מחלוקת על הקב"ה, אמרו לו שמע ישראל אבינו, כשם שאין בלבך מחלוקת על הקב"ה, כך אין בלבנו מחלוקת אלא י"י אלהינו י"י אחד, אף הוא פירש בשפתיו ואמר ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד,
    – Double AA
    Jan 2, 2013 at 16:42
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    That just makes the question stronger, because how could he have said Shema when coming down to Egypt if it hadn't been invented yet.
    – Double AA
    Jan 2, 2013 at 16:43

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