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Since the "Baruch shem..." that follows the statement of "Shema yisroel" was collocated to "Shema yisroel" by rabbis, and is subordinate to the extent that we say it in an undertone, must it definitely be said as part of the "Shema yisroel" before death?

Or should "-- Echad" be your actual last words?

Please provide authoritative sources for your answer.


2 Answers 2


Not to disagree with anyone, but if we look to the example of Rabbi Akiva as stated explicitly in Brachot 61b, it says that he fulfilled the mitzvah of Kriat Shema by ending on the word "Echod" at the end of the first posuk only.

It explains that as he was dieing during his execution, he explained to his students that he had waited all his life to fulfill the mitzvah of Kriat Shema properly and that he prolonged the pronunciation of "Echod" until his soul left his body. It goes on to say that in the merit of that single act a Bat Kol (a Heavenly proclamation) went forth saying that Rabbi Akiva merited to life in the world to come.

The Alter Rebbe explains in the Kuntress Acharon section of his Shulchan Aruch that the halacha follows Rabbi Akiva even against the majority.

  • "The Alter Rebbe explains in the Kuntress Acharon section of his Shulchan Aruch that the halacha follows Rabbi Akiva even against the majority." Is this a universal statement or was it regarding a particular ruling? If the latter, which ruling?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 22:17
  • @mevaqesh It is presented as a universal statement as taught in Sefer Klallei HaPoskim v'HaHorah published by Ohelei Shem Lubavitch. It is the 6th k'lal. It should be noted that this rule applies in regard to his associates and the generations after kal v'chomer. From his teachers the halacha follows the majority. Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 0:05
  • This doesn't really seem like Rabbi Akiva was paskening halacha, though. Probably the deathbed seder wasn't composed yet in his time.
    – Mikie
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 12:11
  • @Mikie If you look at the account given in Talmud, it says that his students gathered around him at the time and questioned him about what he was doing according to what they understood regarding the halacha. He gave an explanation and fulfilled the mitzvah as he explained to them. That is the concept of "paskening". It is determination of what the action should be. לפסוק, "to rule" as in, "What is you ruling on this question?". Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 14:28

According to this text provided by Chabad.org to say on the deathbed, one would say ברוך שם...‏ three times as well as a few other lines after saying שמע ישראל.

  • Good answer but my impulse is to be mad and say, "How many people really do this?"!
    – SAH
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 18:20
  • @SAH do you maen how many people say sh'ma on their deathbeds, how many add 'baruch shem', hom many repeat 'baruch shem', or how many recite the verses afterwards?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 18:25
  • @mevaqesh I guess I mean how many people say the whole page-long passage that Chabad gives, as do most siddurim...
    – SAH
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 1:53
  • @SAH why do you think people don't?
    – Daniel
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 1:54
  • 1
    @SAH I think you shouldn't take "Prayers for the Final Moments" too literally. This page is intended to be said in your last few days of hospice or the like. Not literally the last few moments of life. Who can time that so well? It's not unusual for people in those terminal situations to spend time saying goodbyes to different children or friends. This goes along with that. Putting your affairs in order, as they say.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 21:47

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