Translation:Mishnah/Seder Zeraim/Tractate Berakhot/Chapter 2/3

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Having discussed where the section breaks between the different parts of the Shema are, the Mishnah now discusses the actual practice of saying the Shema.

Hebrew Text[edit]

הַקּוֹרֵא אֶת שְׁמַע וְלֹא הִשְׁמִיעַ לְאָזְנוֹ – יָצָא.
רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר: לֹא יָצָא.
קָרָא וְלֹא דִּקְדֵּק בְּאוֹתִיּוֹתֶיהָ –
רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר: יָצָא;
רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר: לֹא יָצָא.
הַקּוֹרֵא לְמַפְרֵעַ – לֹא יָצָא.
קָרָא וְטָעָה – יַחֲזֹר לִמְקוֹם שֶׁטָּעָה.

English Translation[edit]

One who recites Shema but doesn't make it audible to his ear - has fulfilled his obligation.
Rabbi Yosei says: Has not fulfilled his obligation.
One who recites but does not articulate each letter:
Rabbi Yosei says: Has fulfilled his obligation.
Rabbi Yehuda says: Has not fulfilled his obligation.
One who recites out of order - has not fulfilled his obligation.
One who recites and makes a mistake - should return to the place where he made the mistake.


Make it audible to his ear: I.e. the person is able to hear the recital.

Has fulfilled: The Gemara discusses this subject at great length in Berakhot 15a-15b, due to the disagreement between Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Yosei and the fact that their second stated opinions (i.e. regarding proper articulation) seem to contradict their first opinions. The defense given for Rabbi Yehudah's view is Terumot 1:2, which states that a deaf person saying the blessing for Terumot is valid, if only after the fact. Moreover, Rabbi Yehudah interprets the "שמע" ("hear") from the Shema to mean "understand" (i.e. in any language the person understands) rather than literally hearing the words.

Has not fulfilled: The Gemara cites Megillah 19b as evidence in support of Rabbi Yosei's view, as it states that a deaf person is not qualified to read from the Megillah. Whereas Rabbi Yehudah says that "שמע" means to understand, Rabbi Yosei says that it means to literally hear. Ultimately, however, the law follows Rabbi Yehudah's view in this instance; a person who recites the Shema silently is fulfilling his obligation.

Should return to the place: I.e. wherever he erred. If he doesn't know where he erred, he should return to the last place he's sure he recited correctly, such as the beginning of the paragraph. If he doesn't know where he erred at all, he should start over (per Berakhot 16a).