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

A Bridegroom and the Shma‘. Gamaliel.

M.II. 6 (5 cont.). A bridegroom is exempt from reciting the Shma‘ on the first night, and until the Sabbath is over, if he has not consummated the marriage. 7 [Connected with this is] an incident in the life of Rabban Gamaliel, who married and recited the Shma‘ on the night he married. They said to him: Didst thou not teach us that a bridegroom is exempt from reciting the Shma‘ on the first night? He said to them: I will not listen to you,

p. 20

M.that I should resign the kingdom of heaven, for a single hour. 1

T. I. 3. Bridegrooms and all who are occupied with fulfilling (other) commandments are free from the duty of reciting the Shma‘. For it is said: When thou sittest in thine house2 which excludes those who are occupied with fulfilling commandments. And when thou walkest in the way 3 excludes bridegrooms.

II. 10. The groomsmen 4 and all the marriage guests 5 are free from the Prayer, and from the phylacteries, the whole seven days (of the wedding-feast). But they are bound to observe the recitation of the Shma‘. R. Shela 6 said, The bridegroom is free from obligation, but all the marriage guests are under obligation.


19:7 But he must say the Shma‘ in the morning.

20:1 Cf. Matt. 1623.

20:2 Deut 67.

20:3 ibid. "The way" is interpreted as an euphemism for marriage; cf. Gen. 1931.

20:4 The groomsmen (ha Shôshbînim). Observe the plural. The shôshbîn was equivalent to our "best man," but while at some periods and in some places only the bridegroom had one, sometimes it was only the bride that had one, and again sometimes both had. In any case many of the preliminaries of the marriage were carried out by the shôshbîn. (Cf. John 329. See Krauss, ii, 457.)

20:5 and all the marriage guests (wkŏl bnê ha chuppah). Literally, "and all the sons of the marriage-chamber." This is the phrase in Matt. 916.

20:6 R. Shela. Placed sometimes among the Tannaim, or mishna teachers, but more usually among the very earliest of the Amoraim, or commentators upon the mishna itself. He was head of the School in Nehardea in Babylon about 200 A.D.

Next: M. II. 7-8. Gamaliel: Other Incidents of his Infraction of Traditional Teaching