Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
§ 1. From what time is the שמע 1 to be said in the evening? From the time the priests 2 again enter [the sanctuary] to eat their heave offerings, until the close of the first watch 3 [of the night]. Such is the dictum of R. Eleazar; but the sages say, "until midnight." Rabbon Gamaliel saith, "until the break of dawn." It happened [once] that his sons returned from a banquet [after midnight]. They said to him, "We have not yet said the שמע." He replied, "If the day is not yet dawned, ye are bound to say it: and," added he, "not only in this [instance], but every [duty the performance of which] the sages say [is limited] to midnight only, the legal obligation does not cease until the break of dawn. [Thus in] the burning of the fat and members [of sacrifices] the legal obligation [is in force] till break of dawn. And all [offerings] which must be eaten the slime day [they have been brought] the legal obligation [extends] until the break of dawn." Such being the case, why do the sages say "until midnight" only? To withhold man from transgression.
§ 2. From what time is the שמע to be said in the morning? From the time man can distinguish between blue and white. R. Eleazar saith, "between blue and leek-green." And it may be said, "until the sun shines forth [over the mountain tops]." R. Joshua saith, "until the third hour," 4 for such is the habit of royal princes who rise at the third hour. He who says the שמע after that time loses nothing, [but is] like any man who reads in the Torah.
§ 3. Beth [the school of] Shammai hold, that in the evening, men are to recline when they say the שמע, and in the morning, they are to stand upright; for it is said, "when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." 5 But Beth Hillel hold, that every man is to say it his own way, [in what posture] he pleases, for it is said, "when thou walkest by the way." 6 Such being the case, why [then] is it said, "when thou liest down, and when thou risest up"? The meaning is, at the time when mankind is in the habit to lie down, and at the time when mankind is in the habit to rise. R. Tarphon said, "Once I came along the road, and reclined, in order to say the שמע, according to the dictum of Beth Shammai; but I exposed myself to danger from robbers." They [the sages] answered him, "Thou wast guilty against thyself [deserving of death] because thou didst violate the decision of Beth Hillel."
§ 4. In the morning, two benedictions are said before [the שמע] and one after it; and in the evening, two benedictions before and two after it, one long and one short. 7 Where they, the sages, have adopted the long [form] no man is authorised to shorten [use the short form]; and where they have adopted the short form no man is authorised to lengthen [use the long form]. [Where they] close [with a benediction] no man is authorised not [so] to close: and [where they do] not close [with a benediction] no man is authorised [so] to close.
§ 5. The exit from Egypt is to be mentioned at night. R. Eleazar ben Azariah saith, "Verily I am as a man of 70 years, [almost 70 years of age], but have not succeeded [to prove] that the exit from Egypt ought to be mentioned at night, until Ben Zoma [thus] expounded
[paragraph continues] [the law]: 'that thou mayest remember the day of thy going forth from the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.' 8 'The days of thy life,' would denote the days only; but [the expression] 'all the days of thy life' [includes] the nights [likewise]. But the sages say, 'the days of thy life,' [denote] the world [in its present state], whereas 'all the days of thy life' [include] the future days of Messiah [likewise]."
iv:1 Deut. vi. 3. "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one," &c.
iv:2 Such priests as were unclean, and were bound to abstain from consecrated food until sunset. (Levit. xxii. 7.)
iv:3 The night (according to the Mishna) begins at 6 p. m., and is divided into three watches of four hours each.
2:4 The day (according to the Mishna) begins at 6 a.m., from which time the hours are to be computed. Thus the third hour is 9 a.m.; day and night each consists of twelve hours.
2:5 Deut. vi. 7.
2:7 A long benediction begins and ends with the form ברוך אתה ה׳ "Blessed art thou, O Lord;" whereas, a short benediction is one which only ends with that phrase.
3:8 Deut. xvi. 3.