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Orach Chayim 61:3 (based on Berakhot 60b) says that the chazan should repeat ה' אלהיכם אמת after the 245 words of the Shema, in order to have 248 words in total, which corresponds to the traditional number of the human body's parts. Rema comments that we add at the beginning אל מלך נאמן instead if we are praying without minyan (even though this practice is not followed in Frankfurt and at Chabad). One should also say the whole Shema before going to bed if he didn't do so after tzeit (Mishnah Berurah to Orach Chayim 239:1).

In almost all books at the bedtime Shema just the first part is present, although אל מלך נאמן is still there, and I've seen old manuscripts, where it is even with big and/or fancy fonts. What is the point for saying these three words if one is going to say only the first paragraph?

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  • Similar judaism.stackexchange.com/q/87110/759
    – Double AA
    Apr 15, 2018 at 21:25
  • "In almost all books at the bedtime Shema just the first part is present" this would seem to be the big question. Apr 15, 2018 at 21:26
  • Are you looking for theories, or sources that discuss this? Apr 15, 2018 at 21:32
  • @רבותמחשבות You only have to say the first part (OC 239:1) with the blessing if you prayed בזמנו, so it's understandable why do they put there just the first one. Regarding your second comment, sources obviously would give credibility for theories. Apr 15, 2018 at 21:42
  • I never understood why one should say it if they're not saying all three paragraphs. According to those who say one shouldn't talk after hamapil (if they said it before), I'd wonder if it's a hefsek. I think the MB brings the MA who recommends always saying all three paragraphs so maybe it's a gentle nudge to say the whole thing ;-)
    – robev
    Apr 16, 2018 at 3:17

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