The girsa of the Elu devarim text that appears in many prayer books after the blessings on the Torah cannot be sourced, so far as I can tell, to any particular rabbinic text. Here's the version that appears in siddurim:

אֵלּוּ דְבָרִים שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם שִׁעוּר: הַפֵּאָה, וְהַבִּכּוּרִים, וְהָרֵאָיוֹן, וּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים, וְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה. אֵלּוּ דְבָרִים שֶׁאָדָם אוֹכֵל פֵּרוֹתֵיהֶם בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, וְהַקֶּרֶן קַיֶּמֶת לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא: וְאֵלּוּ הֵן: כִּבּוּד אָב וָאֵם, וּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים, וְהַשְׁכָּמַת בֵּית הַמִּדְרָשׁ שַׁחֲרִית וְעַרְבִית, וְהַכְנָסַת אוֹרְחִים, וּבִקּוּר חוֹלִים, וְהַכְנָסַת כַּלָּה, וּלְוָיַת הַמֵּת, וְעִיּוּן תְּפִלָּה, וַהֲבָאַת שָׁלוֹם בֵּין אָדָם לַחֲבֵרוֹ וּבֵין אִיש לְאִשְׁתוֹ וְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה כְּנֶגֶד כֻּלָּם.‏

And here's the first mishnah in Peah:

אלו דברים שאין להם שיעור – הפיאה, והביכורים, והריאיון, וגמילות חסדים, ותלמוד תורה. ואלו דברים שאדם אוכל מפירותיהן בעולם הזה, והקרן קיימת לו לעולם הבא – כיבוד אב ואם, וגמילות חסדים, והבאת שלום בין אדם לחברו; ותלמוד תורה כנגד כולם.‏

As you can see, the first sentence is the same, but the second clause of the siddur text includes six items – hashkamat beit hamidrash, hachnasat orchim, bikur cholim, hachnasat kalah, lviat hameit, and iyun tefilah (six and a half, if we include the u'vein ish l'ishto bit of hava'at shalom) – that are not in the Mishnah. The reference given in some siddurim (eg. Artscroll and Koren Sacks) for the second clause is to Shabbat 127a. Here's that version:

א"ר יוחנן ששה דברים אדם אוכל פירותיהן בעולם הזה והקרן קיימת לו לעולם הבא ואלו הן הכנסת אורחין, וביקור חולים, ועיון תפלה, והשכמת בית המדרש, והמגדל בניו לתלמוד תורה, והדן את חברו לכף זכות. איני? והא אנן תנן, אלו דברים שאדם עושה אותם ואוכל פירותיהן בעולם הזה והקרן קיימת לו לעולם הבא, ואלו הן כיבוד אב ואם, וגמילות חסדים, והבאת שלום שבין אדם לחברו, ות"ת כנגד כולם

So, we still haven't found a list that matches the siddur text; the first list from Shabbat is missing items that appear in the siddur and the Mishnah (kibud av v'eim, gemilut chasadim) and also includes items that are in neither the Misnhah nor the siddur (magdil banav l'talmud torah, dan et chavero). And the second list here is just the same as the second clause of the Mishnah. A note in Shabbes sends you to yet another parallel text, this time from Kiddushin 39b:

אלו דברים שאדם אוכל פירותיהן בעולם הזה והקרן קיימת לו לעולם הבא אלו הן כבוד אב ואם וגמילות חסדים והכנסת אורחים והבאת שלום בין אדם לחבירו ותלמוד תורה כנגד כולם.

But, alas, this version too is lacking several items (five and a half) from the siddur list – hachnasat leveit hamidrash, hachnasat kalah, bikur cholim, leviat hameit, iyun teffilah and the uvein ish l'ishto clause.

So, the text recited by many pious Jews every morning seems to be a mishmash – none of the would-be sources contain all the same items, and it it contains at least one item (leviat hameit) that does not appear in any parallel text. I feel like there might be a problem with reciting such a text in a ritual context as a representative of Torah sheba'al peh. Any thoughts, or illuminating manuscripts or whatever, that might help us understand this?


1 Answer 1


Shut MaHaRaM Shik (siman 2) explains the reasons for the variations found in the Siddur as compared to the Mishnah and the quote from the gemara in Tractate Shabbat:

  • The Siddur adds "הכנסת כלה והלוית המת": Since they are greater than studying Torah (as evidenced by the fact that one should interrupt his Torah study in order to fulfill these mitzvos), Rabbi Yochanan should have included them in his statement. He did not, however, for the same reason he omits Kibbud Av and Talmud Torah, namely, that something which was already stated he did not state (Kibbud Av and Talmud Torah were already mentioned in the Mishnah), and something which is learned from a Kal V'chomer is considered as if it was stated.
    On the other hand, the one who ordered the Siddur stated them all, including that which was already stated, and therefore he also had to state "הכנסת כלה והלוית המת".

  • The Siddur omits "מגדל בניו לת״ת ודן את חברו לכף זכות": Rabbi Yochanan stated these to teach that they are included in Gemilus Chasadim, in addition to the obvious, that they are included in studying Torah and "Bringing peace between a man and his fellow", respectively (which he omits). Thus, in the Siddur, which does mention studying Torah and "Bringing peace between a man and his fellow", as well as Gemilus Chasadim, it would be superfluous to mention them as well.

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