Until what time may the morning Shema be recited-Part 1

Until what time may the morning Shema be recited-Understanding the Luach of Sof Zman Kerias Shema?

It is a Biblical command for men[1] to recite Kerias Shema every morning.[2] The morning Kerias Shema may [Biblically[3]] be recited up until the passing of three hours into the day.[4] Thus, one must be very careful during days that have an early sunrise, and/or less daylight hour, to hurry and recite the Shema on time.[5] [Once this time has arrived, one has forfeited the Biblical command of reciting the morning Shema, and it can no longer be made up at a later time.[6] On this sin the Sages[7] applied the verse[8] “Meuvas Lo Yuchal Litaken/A sin that has no fixing.” The Divine light that is drawn below through the performance of this Mitzvah is forever lacking and cannot be made up even if the person were to be careful to say the Shema at the right time forever after.[9]]


[1] Women, however, are exempt from the Mitzvah. [Admur 70:1]

[2] Admur 58:1; Rebbe Eliezer Brachos 21a

The reason: As the verse states “Ubishachbecha Ubikumacha” [from which we derive that there is an obligation to recite the Shema both by night and day]. [Admur ibid]

[3] Implication of Admur 58:2-3; Admur in Siddur writes it’s a Biblical doubt; M”A 58:7 and Taz 58:4 in negation of the opinion of Kesef Mishneh; Rav SZ”A in Halichos Shlomo 11 that so is ruling of all Gedolei Hachronim; See Mishmeres Shalom Kudinov 9; Hisorerus Teshuvah 1:33; Lehoros Nasan 3:4; Piskeiy Teshuvos 58:1

Other opinions: Some Poskim learn that just as Biblically the night Shema may be recited throughout the entire night, so too the day Shema may Biblically be recited throughout the entire daytime, and it is only Rabbinical that it must be recited within the first three hours. [Kesef Mishneh Shema 1, brought in M”A ibid] The Taz and M”A ibid negate this approach of the Kesef Mishneh and explain that the word Beshachbecha implies lying in bed, and hence the entire night is valid for the nighttime Shema, however, the term Ubikumecha implies the act of waking out of bed, which certainly has a time limit. In the words of the Taz ibid “I wonder at how a holy mouth can say such a thing, as certainly the Drasha of Chazal on Ubikumecha is a complete Biblical Drasha just like Ubishachbecha.”

[4] Admur 58:3; Michaber 58:1; Rebbe Yehoshua in Mishneh Brachos 9b; It can be said up until the end of the three hours: Admur ibid; Rambam Shema 1:11; Hagahos Maimanis

The reason: As there are some people who are accustomed to awaken from bed at the end of the third hour of the day, such as the sons of kings and the like. [Admur ibid; Mishneh ibid]

[5] Admur ibid regarding short daylight hours of winter; Siddur Admur regarding early sunrise of summer

[6] See previous footnotes that the Mitzvah is Biblical

[7] Brachos 26a; Chagiga 9a

[8] Koheles 1:15

[9] Tanya Igeres Hateshuvah Chapter 1

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