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Tractate Berakoth, by , by A. Lukyn Williams, [1921], at

p. 4

The Time of Reciting the Shma‘ in the Morning.

M.I. 4 (2). At what time does one begin to recite the Shma‘ in the mornings? As soon as one can distinguish between blue and white. 1 R. Eliezer says: Between blue and leek-green, 2 and one may finish it until the sun first shines out.

R. Joshua 3 says: Until [the end of] the third hour, 4 for such is the practice of kings’ sons, 5 to arise at the third hour. He who recites from that time and later has no loss; 6 he is like a man who reads in the Law. 7

T. I. 2. At what time does one begin to recite the Shma‘ in the mornings? Others 8 say: When it is light enough to recognize one's companion 9 at the distance of four cubits. Its legal recitation is at the moment that the sun first shines out, so that a man may join the Ge’ullah 10 to the Tephillah11 and thus be praying the Tephillah in the daytime.

p. 5


R. Judah 1 said: Once I was walking behind R. T. Aqiba 2 and behind R. Eleazar ben Azariah, 3 and the time of reciting the Shma‘ arrived. I supposed that they would neglect reciting it because they were occupied with the requirements of the congregation. I recited and said my mishna portion, and, after this, they began, and the sun was already visible over the tops of the mountains.


4:1 blue and white. Between the colours of the threads in the Tsitsith, the "Fringe" of the Prayer-scarf (Tallith).

4:2 blue and leek-green. i.e. rather later, because the two colours require a better light to distinguish them.

4:3 R. Joshua. R. J. ben Chananiah, c. 90-130 A.D.

4:4 the third hour. c. 9 a.m. See note, p. 28.

4:5 kings’ sons. i.e. persons who are not obliged to rise early.

4:6 has no loss. For he may still recite the Benedictions that precede and follow the Shma‘ (Bartenora).

4:7 in the Law. And he receives the same reward (Bartenora).

4:8 Others. i.e. than those mentioned in M. I. 4.

4:9 to recognize one's companion. Compare The Pilgrimage of Etheria, written in the end of the fourth century. "The arrival in Jerusalem thus takes place at the hour when one man begins to be able to recognize another, that is, close upon but a little before daylight." (English translation, 1919, p. 53; see also p. 72.)

4:10 the Ge’ullah. The one long Benediction that follows the Shma‘ in the morning (Staerk, pp. 6 sq.; SA, pp. 42-44,) and the first of the two that follow it in the evening (Staerk, pp. 8 sq.; SA, pp. 98 sq.). It is called Ge’ullah (redemption) because the latter part recalls the redemption from Egypt.

4:11 the Tephillah. i.e. the Prayer par excellence. It consists of p. 5 nineteen separate prayers, or Benedictions, the original number being Eighteen, whence the name Shemoneh Esreh. It is often (though not in the Mishna or Tosephta of Berakoth) called the Amidah, because it was said standing. It is essentially pre-Christian, and perhaps pre-Maccabean. Both the Palestinian (the earlier) and the Babylonian (the later and normal) forms are given in Dalman's Worte, Appendix, Staerk, pp. 9 sqq., see further SA, pp. lv. sqq.

Next: M. I. 5-6; T. I. 4. Posture in Reciting the Shma‘