O.C. 61:3 states that one should recite a total of 248 words when saying Kri'at Shema. As there are only 245 words, the last 3 words are fulfilled by listening to the Shat'z repeat the ה אלקיכם אמת. Rama"h in says that there is a minhag that a yachid (individual) should say the 3 words אל מלך נאמן as a substitute.

I am unsure if this requirement is directly attached to the mitzvah of reciting Kri'at Shema, meaning during its timeframe. If I understand correctly, one who recites Shema before or after that period fulfills the mitzva of Torah learning, but not of reciting Shema.

So, does one who prays individually need to recite אל מלך נאמן. And, perhaps, more practically, many shuls say Shema after the time on Shabbat and Yom Tov mornings and before the time on summer Friday nights. Does the chazzan need to repeat ה אלקיכם אמת or does this accomplish nothing?

  • similar judaism.stackexchange.com/q/55719/759 – Double AA Nov 20 '17 at 22:49
  • @DoubleAA Interesting info, there. Prob. warrants a bounty. – DanF Nov 21 '17 at 3:56
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    I believe the Chabad custom is for even an individual to recite "Hashem Elokeichem Emes" at the end instead of saying "Keil Melech Ne'eman" before Kriyas Shema, but I could be wrong. – ezra Nov 21 '17 at 21:06
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    @ezra I did notice something like that on the Chaba"d site, I believe. The thinking is that "El Melech Ne'eman" is a hefsek. BTW, not that it's your fault, but, it's too bad that you never met Rav Schneerson, personally. Much of the recorded Chaba"d tunes that you hear on the tanks and in many places were arranged by my father in law, a"h. He played clarinet. So, he frequently met with the rebbe, mostly on music-arrangement matters. – DanF Nov 21 '17 at 21:50
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    @DanF It is ashame. Unfortunately he passed away 6 years before I was born, so I couldn't really help it. That's simply amazing about your father-in-law! – ezra Nov 21 '17 at 22:32

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