Shayim Mikra: Obligation & Importance, Segullos, fast versus slow, women, children

The obligation of Shnayim Mikra:[1]

Although a person hears the reading of the entire Torah every Shabbos in a public forum, he is obligated each week to read to himself the Parsha of that week in the form of Shnayim Mikra Echad Targum [as will be explained].[2] [This matter is an actual obligation and not merely a good custom or encouraged act.[3] It is included in the Biblical obligation for a man to be learn and be expert in the written Torah.[4] Those who are negligent in fulfilling this Mitzvah are considered transgressors and are to be protested even if they are Bnei Torah. Even one who spends his entire day in Torah learning is obligated to stop and recite Shnayim Mikra, just as he must fulfill any other Rabbinical command.[5]]

 

Q&A

How is Shanyim Mikra to be read? Slowly with concentration, or quickly like Tehillim?[6]

Shnayim Mikra must be recited slowly, and with concentration and understanding of the words being said. One is to also be very careful to verbalize each word properly. It is not to be recited like the quick reading of Tehillim and simply to get done with the job.[7] One is to concentrate on the commands that he reads, and the Divine lessons in Avodas Hashem that can be learned from the Parsha.[8] One is to pay attention to nuances and questions that arise, and try to answer them.[9] One who does not do so, and reads it quickly without thinking of its content, does not fulfill the intent of this Mitzvah.[10]

 

Are women obligated to read Shnayim Mikra?[11]

No.

 

Should children be educated to recite Shnayim Mikra?[12]

Children who are of the age of Chinuch, and are able to read the entire Parsha fluently, and understand its content, are to be educated to recite Shnayim Mikra.

 

If one does not remember if he recited Shnayim Mikra, or as to where he is up to, is he to repeat it?

Some Poskim[13] rule that if one is unsure if he recited Shnayim Mikra, or as to where he is up to, then he is to be stringent and repeat it.

When was the Takana of Shnayim Mikra enacted by the Sages?

Some Poskim[14] suggest that it was established by Moshe Rabbeinu himself!

The reward for reading Shnayim Mikra:

Long good life:[15] Those who fulfill the Mitzvah of reading Shnayim Mikra by its proper time, merit long days and years. His life will be filled with good tidings.[16]

Segula for fear of Heaven:[17] The reading of Shnayim Mikra Echad Targum is a Segula for Yiras Shamayim, to attain fear of Heaven. [It draws upon him a spirit of purity.[18] It protects one from stumbling on severe sins.[19]]

Segulah for proper Shabbos Davening:[20] The reading of Shnayim Mikra Echad Targum is a Segula for attaining proper concentration in Davening.

Sparks of Kabala:

Receives extra Neshama and called an Adam:[21] Reading Shnayim Mikra merits a person to draw down a spirit of purity and receive the extra soul [which is given on Shabbos]. He is then called an “Adam” which is the highest term used to refer to a human. This is hinted to in the verses “And Adam called Sheimos”[22] Sheimos is also the acronym for Shnayim Mikra Echad Targum.

Elevates Kelipas Nogah:[23] On Erev Shabbos the level of Kelipas Nogah requests to be elevated into Holiness. This elevation occurs through the reading of Targum Unkulus. This is because Unkelus was a convert, and a convert represents that exact elevation, as a gentile is Kelipa which through conversion entered into holiness.

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[1] Admur 285:1; Michaber 285:1; Rambam Tefila 13:25; Brachos 8a “A person should always complete the Parsha together with the congregation in the form of Shnayim Mikra ViEchad Targum”; Michilta Parshas Bo in name of Rebbe Yehuda Hanassi; Levush 285:1 “This is hinted in the verse “Vieileh Shemos Bnei Yisrael, which stands for Vichayav Adam Likros Shanyim Mikra Viechad Targum Kol Bnei Yisrael”; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 285:1

[2] The reason: As every Jew has an obligation to be an expert in scripture, and hence the Sages enacted the decree of Shnayim Mikra in order to achieve this goal. [Levush 285:1; Igros Moshe 5:17] Alternatively, the reason is because in previous times people who were called to the Torah would then read from it, and hence one was required to recite Shnayim Mikra as a form of preparation. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 285:1 footnote 8]

[3] Wording of Admur ibid, Michaber ibid, Levush 285:1; Rambam ibid, and many Rishonim who record the word “Chayav/obligation”; Shut Hageonim 7; Sefer Haitim 179; Teshuvas Rav Yaakov Mikrubil; Igros Moshe 5:17; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:261; Mishnas Yosef 6:81

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the matter is not a complete obligation. [See Maharsham 1:213; Shut Rav Akiva Yosef Shlezinger 104; Implication of Brachos ibid from fact a) It does not use the word Chayav; and b) Rebbe Yehoshua Ben Levi had to encourage his son to do so; A number of Rishonim do not use the term “Chayav” upon writing this Halacha: See Rif and Rosh on Brachos ibid; Shivlei Haleket 75 writes that “It is proper for every person to  say Shnayim Mikra”]

[4] See Levush ibid “Chazal obligated every Jew amongst Israel..”; Igros Moshe ibid

[5] See Shut Hageonim 7; Sefer Haitim 179; Teshuvas Rav Yaakov Mikurbil; Bnei Tziyon 285:6; Igros Moshe 5:17; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:261; Mishnas Yosef 6:81; Piskeiy Teshuvos 285:1; Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa 2:42; See Kinyan Torah 6:22

[6] See Shlah Hakadosh Miseches Shabbos Neir Mitzvah; Magid Meisharim Yeshaya 66 “Do not read Shnayim Mikra quickly, like you are stoking coals, and to simply fulfill the obligation”; Ruach Chaim 285; Seder Hayom; Rabbeinu Manoach on Rambam; Chasam Sofer 6:61; Yesod Veshoresh Havoda Shaar Hashmini 1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 285:1

[7] See Maggid Meisharim ibid

[8] See Yesod Veshoresh Havoda ibid that he should do Teshuvah for those commands that he has broken, and rejoice by those commands that he keeps. He is also to rejoice by the happy events discussed.

[9] Maggid Meisharim ibid; See Chasam Sofer ibid

[10] See Levush and Igros Moshe ibid that the entire purpose of Shnayim Mikra is to become an expert in Chumash and its content

[11] Mishneh Halachos 6:60; Piskeiy Teshuvos 285:1

[12] Kinyan Torah 7:19; Shevet Halevi 8:46; Teshuvos Vehanhagos1:261; Halichos Shlomo Tefila 12:37; Piskeiy Teshuvos 285:1

[13] Chut Hashani 4:87-1; Shevet Hakehasi 5:69; Piskeiy Teshuvos 285 footnote 5

[14] Aruch Hashulchan 285:2

[15] Brachos 8b; See Sefer Chassidim 301 that this only applies to those who desire to live; M”B 285:1

[16] See Madanei Yom Tov on Rosh Brachos 1:8-5

[17] Or Zarua Shabbos 42 based on Midrash that Rebbe Yehuda Hanassi stated that reading Shnayim Mikra is a Segula for Yiras Shamayim

[18] Kaf Hachaim 285:32 in name of Mateh Yehuda

[19] Orchos Chaim 285:4 regarding if one cuts his nails and says Shnayim Mikra before midday

[20] Bas Ayin Lekutim

[21] Mateh Yehuda 285:9, brought in Kaf Hachaim 285:32; See Yesod Veshoresh Havoda Shaar Hashmini 1

[22] This refers to Adam Harishon which gave names to all the animals.

[23] Shlah p. 128; Migaleh Amukos Kedoshim; Olas Tamid 285:2; Chidushei Chasam Sofer Chulin 28a; See Kaf Hachaim 285:20

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