Archive for Kriat Shema

Tidbits on Parshat Eikev


       As we discussed in the highlights section of this newsletter, the second passage in the Shema, Ve’haya im sha’moa, which is one of the most famous prayers, is found in this week’s Parsha. It is written here, that these words should be recited twice daily. It emphasizes one should take upon himself the acceptance of G-d’s commandments. Generally, this section, as opposed to the previous section, G-d promises supernatural rewards (rain and prosperity) for fulfillment of the Mitzvot, and punishment (drought and exile) for their abandonment, is written in plural form. It’s implying that the reward and punishment are conferred only in response of the majority.

Interesting to note, the Gemarah in Brachot 15:b, derives from the word ve’limaditem –  and you should teach them – which implies that your studies shall be pure – that one must pause between those words that tend to be attached. My grandfather, who was a chazzan, would emphasize to me, to be clear and look up when you talk. Here the Gemarah implies that we should enunciate the words flawlessly. Indeed, we find in many of the siddurim, one of which, here, is Sharai Tsion, where there are warning signs where one could err. If one notices in the picture, some words where it could be problematic, there is an asterisk on an ending letter of a word and one at the beginning letter of the next words. Implying, one should stop and be careful in the pronunciation and not crunch them together. Many are careful in reciting the Shema.


In the verse (10:12), “What does your G-d ask of you,” “what” in Hebrew is pronounced ‘ma’. Ma is also defined as a hundred. So it could be read “A hundred is what G-d asks of you.” The verse alludes to a Rabbinical ordinance requiring each Jew to recite a hundred brachot daily. This ruling was instituted due to the following events:
In King David’s time, G-d caused a plague which tragically took the lives of 100 Jews each day. Searching for the reason of this punishment, David perceived through prophesy that the Jews failed to bless G-d sufficiently for His daily kindness to them. David, therefore, decreed that every Jew recite 100 blessings daily. The plague then stopped.
It’s a bit difficult to achieve this daily. A few helpful tips is the brachot we say first thing in the morning (about 15) and the Amida – silent prayer – both in silent and the repetition (about 38).