Chapter 4ד׳
1 א

נָּשִׁים וַעֲבָדִים וּקְטַנִּים פְּטוּרִים מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע. וּמְלַמְּדִין אֶת הַקְּטַנִּים לִקְרוֹתָהּ בְּעוֹנָתָהּ וּמְבָרְכִין לְפָנֶיהָ וּלְאַחֲרֶיהָ כְּדֵי לְחַנְּכָן בְּמִצְוֹת. מִי שֶׁהָיָה לִבּוֹ טָרוּד וְנֶחְפַּז לִדְבַר מִצְוָה פָּטוּר מִכָּל הַמִּצְוֹת וּמִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע. לְפִיכָךְ חָתָן שֶׁנָּשָׂא בְּתוּלָה פָּטוּר מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע עַד שֶׁיָּבוֹא עָלֶיהָ. לְפִי שֶׁאֵין דַּעְתּוֹ פְּנוּיָה שֶׁמָּא לֹא יִמְצָא לָהּ בְּתוּלִים. וְאִם שָׁהָה עַד מוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת וְלֹא בָּעַל חַיָּב לִקְרוֹת מִמּוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת וְאֵילָךְ שֶׁהֲרֵי נִתְקָרְרָה דַּעְתּוֹ וְלִבּוֹ גַּס בָּהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא בָּעַל:

Women, slaves and children are exempt from the duty of reading the Shema. Children are taught to read it at the proper time; and they recite at the same time the blessings preceding and following it, so that they may be trained in the performance of religious duties. One whose mind is preoccupied and in an agitated state because of any religious duty which he has to perform is freed from the obligation of reading the Shema. Hence, a bridegroom who has wedded a virgin is exempted from reading the Shema till he has consummated the marriage…. If however consummation has been deferred till the night after the Sabbath subsequent to the marriage, it is his duty to read the Shema from that night and onwards, as his mind has become calm and he is already familiar with his bride.

2 ב

אֲבָל הַנּוֹשֵׂא אֶת הַבְּעוּלָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעוֹסֵק בְּמִצְוָה חַיָּב לִקְרוֹת הוֹאִיל וְאֵין לוֹ דָּבָר שֶׁמְּבַלְבֵּל דַּעְתּוֹ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

But if one marries a woman who was not at the time a virgin, it is his duty to read the Shema, there being no specific circumstance that would distract his mind. The same principle applies to similar cases.

3 ג

מִי שֶׁמֵּת לוֹ מֵת שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב לְהִתְאַבֵּל עָלָיו פָּטוּר מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע עַד שֶׁיִּקְבְּרֶנּוּ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין דַּעְתּוֹ פְּנוּיָה לִקְרוֹת. וְאִם הָיָה מְשַׁמֵּר אֶת הַמֵּת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מֵתוֹ פָּטוּר מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע. וְאִם הָיוּ הַשּׁוֹמְרִים שְׁנַיִם הָאֶחָד מְשַׁמֵּר וְהַשֵּׁנִי נִשְׁמָט לְמָקוֹם אַחֵר וְקוֹרֵא וְחוֹזֵר וּמְשַׁמֵּר וְנִשְׁמָט הָאַחֵר וְקוֹרֵא. וְכֵן הַחוֹפֵר קֶבֶר לְמֵת פָּטוּר מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע:

He who has been bereaved of a relative for whom he has to keep the period of mourning is exempted from reading the Shema till he has buried the body, as his mind is not free for reading it. A watcher, even if the body is not that of a relative, is exempt from reading the Shema. When there are two watchers, one watches while the other withdraws to another room and reads it. Then he returns and watches while his companion withdraws and reads it. So too, one who is engaged in digging a grave for the interment of a human body is exempt, for the time being, from reading the Shema.

4 ד

אֵין מוֹצִיאִין אֶת הַמֵּת לְקָבְרוֹ סָמוּךְ לִזְמַן קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיָה אָדָם גָּדוֹל. וְאִם הִתְחִילוּ וְהוֹצִיאוּ וְהִגִּיעַ זְמַן הַקְּרִיאָה וְהֵן מְלַוִּין אֶת הַמֵּת. כָּל שֶׁיֵּשׁ לַמִּטָּה צֹרֶךְ בָּהֶן כְּגוֹן נוֹשְׂאֵי הַמִּטָּה וְחִלּוּפֵיהֶן וְחִלּוּפֵי חִלּוּפֵיהֶן בֵּין שֶׁהָיוּ לִפְנֵי הַמִּטָּה בֵּין שֶׁהָיוּ לְאַחַר הַמִּטָּה פְּטוּרִין. וּשְׁאָר הַמְלַוִּין שֶׁאֵין לַמִּטָּה צֹרֶךְ בָּהֶן חַיָּבִין:

The body is not to be removed for burial, close to the time when the Shema has to be read, unless the deceased was a great man. If the funeral procession had started, and the time for reading the Shema arrived while the bier is being followed, those needed for [carrying] it, such as the bearers and those who relieve them as well as those by whom these in turn are relieved, are exempt from reading the Shema, whether they are in front of the bier or behind it. Others who follow the bier but are not needed to carry it are obliged to read the Shema.

5 ה

הָיוּ עֲסוּקִים בְּהֶסְפֵּד וְהִגִּיעַ זְמַן קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע בִּזְמַן שֶׁהַמֵּת מֻנָּח לִפְנֵיהֶן נִשְׁמָטִים אֶחָד אֶחָד וְקוֹרְאִין וְחוֹזְרִין לַהֶסְפֵּד. אֵין הַמֵּת מֻטָּל לִפְנֵיהֶם כָּל הָעָם קוֹרִין קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וְהָאָבֵל יוֹשֵׁב וְדוֹמֵם לְפִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ חַיָּב לִקְרוֹת עַד שֶׁיִּקְבֹּר אֶת מֵתוֹ:

When the people are engaged in listening to funeral addresses and the time arrives to read the Shema, they withdraw singly, to read the Shema, and return to listen to the funeral addresses that are delivered in the presence of the dead. But if the dead body is not in the place where they are gathered, all those present read the Shema—the mourner however is silent as he is under no obligation to read the Shema till he has buried his dead.

6 ו

קָבְרוּ אֶת הַמֵּת וְחָזְרוּ הָאֲבֵלִים לְקַבֵּל תַּנְחוּמִין וְכָל הָעָם הוֹלְכִים אַחֲרֵיהֶם מִמְּקוֹם הַקֶּבֶר לַמָּקוֹם שֶׁעוֹמְדִים בּוֹ הָאֲבֵלִים לַעֲשׂוֹת שׁוּרָה לְקַבֵּל תַּנְחוּמִין. אִם יְכוֹלִין הָעָם לְהַתְחִיל וְלִגְמֹר אֲפִלּוּ פָּסוּק אֶחָד קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּגִּיעוּ לַשּׁוּרָה יַתְחִילוּ וְאִם לָאו לֹא יַתְחִילוּ אֶלָּא יְנַחֲמוּ אֶת הָאֲבֵלִים וְאַחַר שֶׁיִּפָּטְרוּ מֵהֶן יַתְחִילוּ לִקְרוֹת. בְּנֵי אָדָם הָעוֹמְדִין בַּשּׁוּרָה, הַפְּנִימִיִּים שֶׁהֵן רוֹאִין פְּנֵי הָאֲבֵלִים פְּטוּרִין מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע וְהַחִיצוֹנִים הוֹאִיל וְאֵינָן רוֹאִין אֶת הָאֲבֵלִים חַיָּבִין בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע בִּמְקוֹמָן:

After the interment, when the mourners have returned from the grave to receive condolences, and the people follow them from the grave to the spot where the mourners stand, to form a line to receive condolences—if there is time for the people to commence and conclude the recital of at least one verse of the Shema before they reach the line, they should do so. Otherwise they are not to begin but should first offer their condolences to the mourners, and, after they have left them, read the Shema. Those who are in the interior lines and face the mourners are exempt from the duty of reading the Shema; but those who stand in the exterior lines, since they do not see the mourners, have the duty of reading the Shema where they are standing.

7 ז

כָּל מִי שֶׁהוּא פָּטוּר מִלִּקְרוֹת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע אִם רָצָה לְהַחֲמִיר עַל עַצְמוֹ לִקְרוֹת קוֹרֵא. וְהוּא שֶׁתְּהֵא דַּעְתּוֹ פְּנוּיָה עָלָיו. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה זֶה הַפָּטוּר מִלִּקְרוֹת מְבֹהָל אֵינוֹ רַשַּׁאי לִקְרוֹת עַד שֶׁתִּתְיַשֵּׁב דַּעְתּוֹ עָלָיו:

If one, exempt from reading the Shema, nevertheless desires to fulfill his duty strictly, and read it, he may do so, provided that his mind is free. But if such an exempted individual is in an excited state, he may not read it, till his mind is composed.

8 ח

כָּל הַטְּמֵאִין חַיָּבִין בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּמְבָרְכִין לְפָנֶיהָ וּלְאַחֲרֶיהָ וְהֵן בְּטֻמְאָתָן. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר לָהֶן לַעֲלוֹת מִטֻּמְאָתָן בּוֹ בַּיּוֹם כְּגוֹן הַנּוֹגְעִין בְּשֶׁרֶץ אוֹ בְּנִדָּה וְזָבָה וּמִשְׁכָּבָהּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. וְעֶזְרָא וּבֵית דִּינוֹ תִּקְּנוּ שֶׁלֹּא יִקְרָא בְּדִבְרֵי תּוֹרָה בַּעַל קֶרִי לְבַדּוֹ וְהוֹצִיאוּהוּ מִכְּלַל שְׁאָר הַטְּמֵאִין עַד שֶׁיִּטְבּל. וְלֹא פָּשְׁטָה תַּקָּנָה זוֹ בְּכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא הָיָה כֹּחַ בְּרֹב הַצִּבּוּר לַעֲמֹד בָּהּ לְפִיכָךְ בָּטְלָה. וּכְבָר נָהֲגוּ כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל לִקְרוֹת בַּתּוֹרָה וְלִקְרוֹת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וְהֵן בַּעֲלֵי קְרָיִין לְפִי שֶׁאֵין דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה אֶלָּא עוֹמְדִין בְּטָהֳרָתָן לְעוֹלָם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ירמיה כג כט) ״הֲלוֹא כֹה דְבָרִי כָּאֵשׁ נְאֻם יְיָ׳‎״ מָה אֵשׁ אֵינָהּ מְקַבֶּלֶת טֻמְאָה אַף דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה אֵינָם מְקַבְּלִין טֻמְאָה:

All who are ritually unclean are bound nevertheless to read the Shema; and, while still unclean, they recite the blessings that precede and succeed it, even if it is possible for them to get rid of their uncleanness, on the same day; as is the case with those who have touched a creeping thing, or touched a woman in the period of menstruation, or touched one who has a running issue, or the couch on which anyone of these has lain, etc. Ezra and his colleagues ordained that only one who had had an emission—as an exception to all unclean classes—may not read the words of the Torah till he has ritually bathed. This ordinance was not adopted universally. The majority of the community were unable to observe it, and it fell into desuetude. All Israelites have accordingly had the custom to read the Torah and recite the Shema, notwithstanding that they had had emissions. For the words of the Torah are insusceptible of defilement, but remain always pure, as it is said, "Is it not thus, my words are like fire, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 23:29). Even as fire is incapable of being defiled, so the words of the Torah are insusceptible of defilement, but keep their purity forever.