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

Posture in Reciting the Shma‘.

M.I. 5 (3): The School of Shammai 4 say: In the evening all should turn on their side, 5 and so recite, and in the morning stand, for it is said: "and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." 6 But the School of Hillel say: Every one recites according to his own way, for it is said: "and when thou 

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M.goest in the way." 1 If so, why is there said: "and when thou liest down and when thou risest up?" This refers to the time when men are in the habit (lit. way) of lying down, and the time when they are in the habit of standing.

6. (3 cont.). R. Tarphon 2 said: I was on a journey and I turned on my side to recite in accordance with the School of Shammai, and I put myself in danger because of robbers. They said to him: Thou didst deserve to be guilty of thy own life because thou didst trangress the words of the School of Hillel.

T. I. 4. An incident is told of R. Ishmael 3 and R. Eleazar ben Azariah, that they were resting in a certain place, and R. Ishmael had turned on his side and R. Eleazar ben Azariah was upright. When the time of reciting the Shma‘ arrived, R. Ishmael was upright and R. Eleazar ben Azariah was turned on his side. R. Ishmael said to him: What is this, Eleazar? He said to him: Brother Ishmael, people asked a man, Why so fine a beard? He said to them, With a view to the barbers. 4 So

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[paragraph continues] I who was upright turned on my side, and thou who wast on thy side raised thyself upright. He [i.e. R. Ishmael] said to him: Thou didst turn on thy side to fulfil [the Law] according to the opinion of the School of Shammai, and I stood upright to fulfil [it] according to the opinion of the School of Hillel. 1 According to another account, that the disciples should not see [what we do], and make a fixed rule according to thy opinion.


5:1 R. Judah ben Il‘ai, in the third generation of mishna teachers, 130-160 A.D., and so always with "R. Judah" alone.

5:2 R. Aqiba. Put to death by the Romans c. 132 A.D. for helping Barcochba. He insisted on the inspiration of every letter of Scripture, and Aquila's over-literal translation was made under his influence. He formed a kind of mishna, which was used by R. Judah (see Strack, p. 19).

5:3 R. Eleazar ben Azariah. A wealthy priest and an elder contemporary of R. Aqiba. Said to be a descendant of Ezra.

5:4 Shammai. He and Hillel flourished in the last quarter of the first century B.C. The followers of Shammai and of Hillel formed the two principal divisions of the Pharisees, the Shammaites being much the stricter, and being the leading party until 70 A.D. Some of our Lord's words about the Pharisees have special reference to them.

5:5 To-day, as of old, the Shma‘ is usually recited in a sitting posture (SA, p. lvi).

5:6 Deut. 67.

6:1 Deut. 67.

6:2 R. Tarphon. He had attended the Temple service in his youth, but flourished in the first quarter of the second century A.D. He is sometimes identified with the Trypho of Justin's Dialogue, but, apart from the question of date (for Trypho does not give the impression of being at all an old man), rather absurdly, for the latter shows very little acquaintance with Jewish casuistry.

6:3 R. Ishmael ben Elisha was a contemporary of R. Aqiba, and a pupil of R. Nechuniah ben ha-Qanah (see p. 30). He lived on the border of Edom, and his hermeneutical principles differed from those of R. Aqiba, for he taught that the words of Scripture should be interpreted by the general usage of human speech. His influence may be seen especially in the Mekilta (the midrash on Exodus), and in the Siphre (on Numbers and Deuteronomy).

6:4 barbers. The narrative is given also in the Siphre on Deut. 67 (ed. Friedmann, P. 74b), and the Yalqut on the same passage p. 7(§ 842). The meaning of Eleazar's words seems to be, Your praise of my beard means that it is fit for the barbers, and must he cut short. I, by lying down, showed my agreement with you, but you then stood upright to show you did not accept my approval. It is a case in which praise produces the opposite.

Next: M. I. 7; T. I. 5-9. The Benedictions connected with the Shma‘