The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 62:3) rules that one fulfills the mitzvah of Keri'at Shema even if he did not hear the words that he has said--with one condition:

צריך להשמיע לאזנו מה שמוציא בפיו, ואם לא השמיע לאזנו, יצא ובלבד שיוציא בשפתיו

Regarding the bolded words, I see two ways to understand them: either, you must move your lips without actually emitting any sound, and that is enough (bedi'avad), or you must actually pronounce the words, and then even if your words did not reach your ears (for example, you are in a noisy room) that is enough; but merely "mouthing" the words would not be yotzei.

Are there any sources or proofs one way or the other?

1 Answer 1


I don't see how it could be the first meaning. It doesn't say that he must only move his lips but שיוציא - emit it with them. Also, there would be no need to mention לאזנו if he made no sound at all (just השמיע would suffice). The sense is a sound that is emitted by his mouth but inaudible to his ears.

  • 1
    Correct. This is one of the reasons as to why a speaking deaf person (not considered a cheresh, BTW) can fulfill the mitzvah of Kri'at Shema.
    – DanF
    May 1, 2015 at 13:41
  • @DanF I assume then that according to the man d'amar in the mishna that it needs to be audible even bdieved that a cheresh is patur(?)
    – Loewian
    May 1, 2015 at 13:54
  • I think it's the opposite. There is an opinion, IIRC, that says that one is NOT required to hear what he says when reciting Shema. A cheresh is patur from all mitzvoth. A non-hearing person who speaks is considered a pike'ach, not a cheresh, and is thus obligated to perform mitzvoth. However, certain mitzvoth requiring hearing, such as Shofar, he would be patur.
    – DanF
    May 1, 2015 at 14:19
  • I agree that this is probably true, but the proof from לאזנו is not really a proof--לכתחילה you may have to hear yourself, but בדיעבד, even if you do not actually say the words you may be יוצא. Also I will add that there are sources that speak about הרהר בלבו as not being יוצא, potentially implying that "mouthing" would be יוצא. Again, I don't think that is correct
    – wfb
    May 1, 2015 at 15:27

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