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When I started donning the tefillin some years ago, I had a pamphlet given to me by a Lubavitcher and I used it at times for the Shema. However, there's an addition before the Shema in the pamphlet and not in my siddur. I've been including the addition of "Hareini mekabel...Ve-ahavta lerei'acha kamocha" before saying Shema and haven't questioned it much until now.

Is this a tradition specific to Lubavitch or is it more widespread? What is the purpose of its inclusion?

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    Just to be clear that addition is not designed for insertion before Shma when Shma is being said with its blessings in the context of Shacharit or Maariv. – Double AA Jul 31 '14 at 21:32
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The Lubavitcher Rebbe started a campaign (in 1983 - the beginning of 5744) that everyone should say the Hareini Mekabel before davening and אך צדיקים afterwards. Rabbi Palteil speaks about the history and reasons for this here (at about the 21 minute mark).

This was a previous practice, as the Alter Rebbe of Lubavitch put it in his siddur to say that. The source for having that intention is the Arizal (In the Eitz Chaim שער עולם העשיה Chapter 1 speaks about it).

The inclusion of it in this pamphlet probably comes from the aforementioned campaign.

The idea is before prayer starts - in the Siddur it is after Birchas HaShachar, before Mah Tovu (as the Chabad custom is to say Birchas HaShachar at home anyway). Since this pamphlet is targeted at those who are not yet at the point of saying the whole Davening, and this may even be the only prayer they say that day, it is included at that point.

  • Moreover, when 'hassids 'habad (loubavitch people) find people to make teffilines, they often propose them to say: "Aréni mekabel alai..." Then "Chéma Israel..." Then "Akh tsadikim..." Indeed, those phrases are the first and last phrases of the morning prayer. – Benjamin J. Benoudis Mar 25 at 11:25

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