Mishna Berura Summaries

Siman 63 – Sit for the Shema and do not sleep

  1. You may read the Shema in any position except for prakdon. Prakdon includes both flat on you belly with your face in the ground – and laying on your back (even tilted a bit to the side) facing up. (ShA 1 – MB 2)
  2. L’chatchila you shouldn’t read the Shema laying down on your side unless there will be a bother to get dressed and get up. But if you are wearing pajamas you must get up. (MB 3 – BeH “mayachar”)
  3. If you are sitting, you shouldn’t stand up to read the Shema even if your intention is to improve your kavana – it appears as if you want to be a machmir for Bais Shamai’s opinion. (ShA 2 – MB 5)
  4. If you are standing, you may not recline or sit for the nighttime Shema for the same reason. (MB 7)
  5. When reading the first possuk of Shema (including “Boruch Shaym…”) you must be stationary – so if you were walking, stop. Some opinions are machmir to be stationary until “al l’vovecha”. (ShA 3 – MB 10,11)
  6. A travelling passenger is not required to halt the vehicle. (MB 10)
  7. The main concentration must be on the first possuk (including “Boruch shaym…”) If while reading it you didn’t focus on the meaning of the words, you did not fulfil your obligation even if your mind only began to wander in the middle. You must read it again in a whisper so people don’t suspect you of pledging your allegiance to two different powers, chas v’shalom. (ShA 4 – MB 12,13,14)
  8. Even if you already recited the whole of the first two parshios and then remembered that you didn’t have kavana for the first possuk, you must repeat the whole first parsha. If you merely repeat the first possuk it will be out of order and you won’t be yotzay. Reading the parshios out of order, however, is okay. (MB 14)
  9. Since the main concentration must be on the first possuk, you must be fully awake while saying it. The rest of Shema can be said bedieved while dozing as long as you recited all of it. (ShA 5 – MB 16)
  10. The main kabbolas ole malchus Shomayim is in the first paragraph. Therefore you should not communicate (even non-verbally) with others even for mitzva purposes when reciting that whole paragraph. (ShA 6 – MB 17)