The first paragraph of the Shema (itself from the Torah) includes the instruction to say the Shema twice daily "when we lie down and when we arise."
This would seem to indicate that the recitation of Shema is considered d'oraisa.

But the same paragraph instructs us to say these words "when we walk on the road and when we sit in our house." We do not have a ritual to do either.
This would seem to indicate that the recitation of Shema is rabbinic.

So, is reciting the Shema rabbinic or d'oraisa?
If d'oraisa, what don't we also adhere to the other directives mentioned in the paragraph?

  • 4
    Brachot 21a
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 17:56
  • 2
    Regarding you ref to "When we sit in the house and walk in the road", Talmud Brachot concludes that these refer to the times of the day when we must say Shema and not that these become separate required mitzvoth. If it were, you'd never stop saying Shema as you would alternate these places several times per day, unless you're a hermit or a travelling salesperson.
    – DanF
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 19:37
  • @DanF Where in Brachot, please?
    – Yehuda W
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 2:37
  • 1
    Start with Brachot bottom of 10b (Mishnah) and continue w/ Gemarah on top of 11a. It explains the difference of opinions between Bet Shamai & Bet Hillel, but we follow Bet Hillel in this case.
    – DanF
    Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 16:07
  • See: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/77874/8775.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 4:34

2 Answers 2


Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 58:1) brings three opinions as to which parts of shema are d'oraisoh (all the opinions he brings agree that at least some part is d'oraisoh):

  1. R' Eliezer (Berachos 21a) is of the opinion that just the first paragraph of shema is d'oraisoh.
  2. The second opinion is that also the second paragraph of shema is d'oraisoh (רמב"ם פ"א מהל' ק"ש ה"א-ב, תוס' ברכות ב,א ד"ה מאימתי)
  3. The third opinion is that only the first pasuk (i.e. שמע ישראל ה' אלקינו ה' אחד) is d'oraisoh (Rashba).

According to these opinions:

  • "ובלכתך בדרך" teach us that shema may be said in any position (standing or sitting).
  • "ובשכבך ובקומך" teaches us that shema is to be recited in the morning (when people get up) and at night (when people go to sleep).

The gemara (Berachos 21a) brings the opinion of Shmuel who holds that reading shema is d'rabanan. He learns that "ובשכבך ובקומך" refers to the study of Torah.

  • Note Tosfot in two places seems to rule like Shmuel
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 4, 2019 at 12:01

You ask:

But the same paragraph instructs us to say these words when we walk on the road and when we sit in our house. We do not have a ritual to do either.

There are three opionions regarding Krias Shema:

. The first opinion (and some Rishonim stated it for the halacha, as Tosfot quoted below) following which even the first chapter's recitation is only a rabbinical mitzva.

Tosfot Sota 32a.

וליכא למימר דלא נקט אלא דאורייתא דהא בפרק מי שמתו (ברכות דף כא.) משמע דתפלה וקרית שמע דרבנן‏

It seems from the Gemara, chapter Mi Shemmeto (Brachot 21a), that Kriat Shema is a rabbinical commandment.

The Gemara on Brachot 21a quoted by Tosfot asks your question against this opinion (Rav Yehuda amar Shmuel) for the words of the first chapter.

The recital of the Shema is ordained only by the Rabbis, the saying of 'True and firm' אמת) ויציב) is a Scriptural ordinance. R' Joseph raised an objection to this, 'And when thou liest down, and when thou risest up'(ובשכבך ובקומך). Said Abaye to him: That was written with reference to words of Torah.

. But in this Gemara Berachot, there are two opinions regarding KS, Rabbi Yehuda in name of Shmuel, according to him KS is derabanan, which we talked about above, and the Amora Rabbi Eleazar (there are a couple of versions for this name), according to him it's scriptural, Deorayta.

. If KS is Deorayta, are the first two chapters a scriptural mitzvah or is only the first chapter a scriptural mitzvah?

See the question and its answer in Gemara Berachot 13b regarding the second chapter (in this question we assume that the first chapter is a scriptural mitsva):

[Presumably] because it is written, 'upon thy heart and thou shalt speak of them? ' There too [in the second section] also it is written, 'upon your heart to speak. of them'! These words have reference to words of Torah,

So for the opinion following which the recitation of the second chapter (but not the first) is a Rabbinical Mitxva, the verse "thou shall speak them" tells to speak Divre Torah, not particularly this chapter reading.

Regarding the Poskim. Rif, Rambam, Rosh in halachot Brachot, Rashba, Tur and SA ruled against Shmuel (contrarily to the Tosfot in Sota). And last Poskim (Acharonim) followed this opinion.

Rishonim argued about the lenght of what is the stuff called KS in Gemara Berachot 21a.

There are several opinions.

. Some Rishonim and Acharonim (Tshuvat Harashba 320, Rabbi Yehuda Hachasid in Tur OC 67, Bet Yosef, Magen Avraham and Baer Heytev there) understand that that the first verse only is a Mitzva Deorayta. This opinion is based on a couple of statements in Masechet Berachot 13b, a testimony that Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi was saying this verse only, Tanayim opinion supported by Amorayim ruled that this verse only needs Cavana, or needs full awareness.

. The Rashba in Chiddushin in first Chapter of Berachot regarding KS of bedtime and daf 21a , in name of Rabbi Shemaya, Rabenu Yona, understand that the first chapter is Deorayta. This opinion is based on several rules regarding first chapter of Shema which are based on verses (in the second chapter of Brachot 16a and in Yoma).

. Some else say that the 3 first verses only are Deorayta. The Shaagat Arieh holds this opinion.

. The Pri Chaddash in SA OC siman 67 summarizes the diverses opinion in Gemara and Poskim (he understands that Rambam's opinion (hilchot KS 1, 2) is that 2 parashiot are Deorayta and holds this opinion. but the Shaagat Arieh siman 2 argues strongly against this lecture on Rambam.

. Aruch Hashulchan in siman OC 67 says that he rules, following his own understanding on Rambam that the 3 parashiot are Deorayta.

  • also tosfot menachot 43b
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 4, 2019 at 0:49
  • Ok I hope to read it thanks
    – kouty
    Commented Jun 4, 2019 at 3:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .