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I remember reading a statement that the third paragraph of the Shema was changed to a different paragraph from the Torah that we now use. The reasoning I read was that it was a measure against the Christians who no longer wore tzitzit nor followed most of God's commandments. I'm looking to find if this is based in fact or not.

  • The gemara does mention that they wanted to add The Ten Commandments to the Shema, but didn't do so because the christians would try to convince the simple people that it's the only part of the Torah that is from Hashem. Is this what you're referring to? – Ploni Jul 16 '17 at 8:35
  • Do you mean that the text was changed, or that a different paragraph used to be recited? – Scimonster Jul 16 '17 at 9:40
  • Different paragraph – Aaron Jul 16 '17 at 9:47
  • @ploni also that we should recite the blessings of bilaam but they decided it was too much to require of everyone more than (ashrei) Shema and shmone esrei – Double AA Jul 16 '17 at 11:10
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Are you thinking of the Shortened Third Paragraph said in Israel?

אמר רב יוסף כמה מעליא הא שמעתתא דכי אתא רב שמואל בר יהודה אמר אמרי במערבא ערבית דבר אל בני ישראל ואמרת אליהם אני ה' אלהיכם אמת

Rav Yosef said: How excellent is this tradition that I heard, as when Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia he said: In Eretz Yisrael, at the evening prayer they do not recite the entire third portion of Shema, which deals with ritual fringes, as there is no obligation to wear ritual fringes at night. Rather, they say a condensed version of that portion that includes an excerpt from the beginning and an excerpt from the end: “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them…I am the Lord, your God, True” (Numbers 15:38, 41).

Source - Berachos 14b.

  • I'm almost positive that this is also in the Yerushalmi. – Shmuel Brin Jul 16 '17 at 19:00

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