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The Talmud, by Joseph Barclay, [1878], at

p. 48 p. 49




On Blessings.

Recitation of the Shemah—Blessings—Rabbi Gamaliel—Exemptions from the recitation—Prayers—Differences between the schools of Shammai and Hillel—Reverence for the Temple.


1. "From what time do we recite the Shemah 1 in the evening?" "From the hour the priests 2 enter (the temple) to eat their heave offerings, until the end of the first watch." 3 The words of R. Eleazar; but the Sages say "until midnight" Rabban Gamaliel says, "until the pillar of the morn ascend." It happened that his sons came from a banquet. They said to him, "we have not yet said the Shemah." He said to them, "if the pillar of the morn be not yet ascended, you are bound to say it; and not only this, but all that the

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[paragraph continues] Sages say, 'till midnight,' they command till the pillar of the morn ascend." The burning of the fat and members they command "till the pillar of the morn ascend." And all offerings, which must be eaten the same day, they command "till the pillar of the morn ascend." If so, why do the Sages say "until midnight?" "To withhold man from transgression."

2. "From what time do we recite the Shemah in the morning?" When one can discern betwixt "blue and white," R. Eleazar says "betwixt blue and leek green." And it may be finished "until the sun shine forth." R. Joshua says "until the third hour." 1 For such is the way of royal princes to rise at the third hour. He who recites Shemah afterwards loses nothing. He is like a man reading the Law.

3. The school of Shammai say that in the evening all men are to recline when they recite the Shemah; and in the morning they are to stand up; for it is said, "when thou liest down and when thou risest up." 2 But the school of Hillel say, "that every man is to recite it in his own way; for it is said "when thou walkest by the way." 3 If so, why is it said, "when thou liest down and when thou risest up"? "When mankind usually lie down, and when mankind usually rise up." R. Tarphon said, "I came on the road, and reclined to recite the Shemah according to the words of the school of Shammai, and I was in danger of robbers." The Sages said to him, "thou wast guilty against thyself, because thou didst transgress the words of the school of Hillel."

4. In the morning two blessings are said before (the Shemah), and one after it; and in the evening two blessings before and two after it, one long and one short. 4 Where the (Sages) have said to lengthen, none is allowed to shorten; and to shorten none is allowed to lengthen: to close, none is allowed not to close; not to close, none is allowed to close.

5. We commemorate the departure from Egypt at night;

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said R. Eleazar, son of Azariah, "truly I am a son of seventy years, and was not clear that thou shouldst say the departure from Egypt at night until the son of Zoma expounded, 'that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life;' 1 the days of thy life (are) days; all the days of thy life (include) the nights." But the Sages say, "the days of thy life (are) this world; all the days of thy life (include) the days of the Messiah."


49:1 "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord," etc. (Deut. vi. 4-9, xi. 13-21; Num. xv. 37-41). Evening prayer might be said after 12.30 P.M. (Acts x. 9.) It is abundantly evident from the Zohar that the ancient Jews understood that in the Shemah there was a confession of the doctrine of the Trinity in unity—three Persons in One God. "Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah. By the first name in this sentence, Jehovah, is signified God the Father, the Head of all things. By the next words, our God, is signified God the Son, the fountain of all knowledge; and by the second Jehovah, is signified God the Holy Ghost, proceeding of them both; to all which is added the word One, to signify that these three are Indivisible. But this mystery shall not be revealed until the coming of Messiah." The Zohar gives also an imperfect illustration of this great Truth, by saying that the Trinity in unity is like "the human voice which is composed of three elements—warmth, air, and vapour."

49:2 Priests who were legally unclean. (Lev. xxii. 7).

49:3 The Mishna begins the night at 6 P.M., and divides it into three watches of four hours each.

50:1 The Mishna begins the day at 6 a.m. The third hour is 9 A.M.

50:2 Deut. vi. 7.

50:3 Ibid.

50:4 A long blessing begins and ends with "Blessed art Thou, O Lord;" a short blessing only ends with these words.

51:1 Deut. xvi. 3.

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