From the Rav’s Desk: Repeating Ani Hashem Elokeichem by Kerias Shema Sheal Hamita

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Repeating Ani Hashem Elokeichem by Kerias Shema Sheal Hamita


Should one repeat the words Ani Hashem Elokeichem by Kerias Shema Sheal Hamita? I am a little confused regarding when we should repeat the last three words and when not. I know that we do repeat the words when praying Shacharis and Maariv in private, although not when we say Shema with Rabbeinu Tam. What then is the status of Kerias Shema Sheal Hamita?



The custom is to repeat the words Ani Hashem Elokeichem also by Kerias Shema Sheal Hamita, so one have a total of 248 words corresponding to his 248 limbs.


The Poskim state that the number of words of the Shema corresponds to the 248 limbs of the body and anyone who reads the Shema properly, each limb takes one word and gets healed by it. Now, the Shema itself contains a total of 245 words and hence in order to make up for another three words to reach a total of the 248 words, another three words must be added to the Shema. Now, the question is raised regarding whether this need to make up the 248 words applies only when one recites the Shema for the sake fulfilling the obligation, such as in the morning and evening prayer, or even when recited at other times, such as by the bedtime Shema, and when wearing Rabbeinu Tam. So regarding the tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam, it states in Hayom  Yom not to repeat the words Ani Hashem Elokeichem, and seemingly the reason is because we already recited the Shema with 248 words in the morning prayer, and there is no need to perform this again when reciting Shema with Rabbeinu Tam. However, by the bedtime Shema which is recited for the sake of protection, those accustomed to recite all three paragraphs of Shema do so due to the reason of it corresponding to the 248 limbs, and hence one should repeat these words in order to receive protection for all 248 limbs. So indeed concludes the Shaar Hakolel and so writes the Rebbe to be the custom.

Sources: See regarding reciting all three paragraphs of Shema: Siddur Admur; M”A 239:1 in name of Midrash Tanchaum Kedoshim; Yakut Shemonin Mishlei Remez 535; M”B 239:1; Ben Ish Chaiy Tzav 38; See regarding making up the 248 words also by the bedtime Shema: M”B 239:1; Shaar Hakolel 36:4; Hagahos Tzemach on Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Kerias Shema Al Hamita; See regarding repeating Ani Hashem Elokeichem for the bedtime Shema: Shaar Hakolel 36:4; Igros Kodesh 16:294 “I have not explicitly heard about this believe that Anash are accustomed to follow the ruling of the Shaar Hakolel to repeat the words Ani Hashem Elokeichem”; Shulchan Menachem 1:144; See regarding not repeating Ani Hashem Elokeichem by Rabbeinu Tam: Hayom Yom 17th Iyar; Igros Kodesh 16:294; Shulchan Menachem 1:144;  See regarding the general concept of the words of Shema corresponding to 248 limbs: Admur 61:3; Siddur Admur; Ketzos Hashulchan 19:24

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