יחיד אומר The following three words should be said when praying without a minyan:
אֵל מֶֽלֶךְ נֶאֱמָן: (Almighty, faithful King)
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ יְהֹוָה אֶחָד: Hear, Israel: Adonoy is our God, Adonoy is One.1Deuteronomy 6:4. It is customary to recite this verse aloud, the ear hearing what the lips utter. This helps one concentrate on the meaning of this important declaration. Interestingly, the last letter of the first word שמע and last letter of אחד arc written larger than the others. These two letters form the word עד “witness”—i.e., every Jew by saying Shema testifies to God’s oneness.—Avudraham
Customarily one closes his eyes when pronouncing this testimony in order to shut out all distractions, and to concentrate all of one’s thoughts on God’s oneness. The last word, אחד, “One,” is to be said with special emphasis, drawing it out for the length of time needed to reflect that God, the Giver and Sustainer of life Whose Providence guides the destinies of all men, is the unique God of Israel, that He is alone in His world, ruling all four corners of the universe.
יש להפסיק מעט בין אחד לברוך כי עיקר קבול עול מלכות שמים היא פסוק ראשון. ויאמר בלחש: The following two lines are to be said silently:
בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד: Blessed [is His] Name, Whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever.2Jacob wished to reveal to his sons the ‘end of the days,׳ whereupon the Shechinah departed from him. Said he, “Perhaps, Heaven forbid! there is one unfit among my children.” His sons exclaimed to him, “Hear Israel” etc., just as there is only One in your heart so is there only One in our heart. Ben Lakish explained that Jacob said, “Blessed [is His] Name” in response to his sons’ exclamation. The Sages wondered, “Shall we recite it aloud when our teacher Moses did not say it? Shall we not say it at all, when Jacob ordained it?” Thus, the Rabbis enacted that it be said quietly.—Maseches Pesachim 56a.
When Moses went up to the heavens, he heard the angels praise God by saying, “Blessed [is His] Name, etc.” When he returned to earth, he taught it to the Jewish People. We say it in an undertone so as not to offend the angels. On Yom Kippur however, when we are considered like angels, we are permitted to say ברוך שם aloud.—Midrash Rabba to Deuteronomy
וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ בְּכָל֯־לְ֯בָבְ֒ךָ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁ֒ךָ וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽךָ: וְהָיוּ הַדְּ֒בָרִים הָאֵֽלֶּה אֲשֶׁר֯ אָ֯נֹכִי מְצַוְּ֒ךָ הַיּוֹם עַל֯־לְ֯בָבֶֽךָ: וְשִׁנַּנְתָּם לְבָנֶֽיךָ וְדִבַּרְתָּ בָּם בְּשִׁבְתְּ֒ךָ בְּבֵיתֶֽךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּ֒ךָ בַדֶּֽרֶךְ וּבְשָׁכְבְּ֒ךָ וּבְקוּמֶֽךָ: וּקְשַׁרְתָּם לְאוֹת עַל֯־יָ֯דֶֽךָ וְהָיוּ לְטֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֶֽיךָ: וּכְתַבְתָּם עַל־מְזֻזוֹת בֵּיתֶֽךָ וּבִשְׁעָרֶֽיךָ: And you shall love Adonoy your God with all your heart3Our Sages (Sifrei to Deuteronomy 31) explain “With all your heart” to mean “With all your desires—including the evil inclination,” i.e., subject your earthly passions and ambitions to God’s Law and make them instruments for His service. and with all your soul4The Sages (ibid.) take these words to mean “With your whole life—even to the last drop of blood.” It was such an understanding that led Rabbi Akiva to say, when the executioner was tearing his flesh with iron hooks, “All my life, I have longed for this moment. I have loved God with all my heart and with all my might; and now at last, I can love Him with my whole life.” It was this concept that gave Jewish martyrs the courage to lay down their lives for their faith. and with all your possessions.5The Sages (ibid.) explain, “With whatever lot Providence has assigned to you,” i.e., despite whatever material sacrifice your loyalty to God and to Torah might entail. And these words which I command you today,6The teachings of the Torah should be ever fresh in your minds, as though you received it today.—Ibid. shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them sharply7See to it that your children have a clear, and not a confused, stammering knowledge of the Torah.—Ibid. to your children. And you shall discuss them when you sit in your house, and when you travel on the road, and when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for totafos between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gateways.8Deuteronomy 6:5-9. This paragraph contains 10 commandments: 1) accepting the “yoke” of heaven; 2) proclaiming the Unity of God; 3) loving God; 4) studying Torah (and you shall speak of them); 5) teaching your children; 6-7) reciting Shema in the evening and in the morning; 8-9) putting on the tefillin of the hand and head; 10) putting up mezuzos on the door-posts.
וְהָיָה אִם־שָׁמֹֽעַ תִּשְׁמְ֒עוּ אֶל־מִצְוֹתַי אֲשֶׁר֯ אָ֯נֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם הַיּוֹם לְאַהֲבָה אֶת־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וּלְעָבְדוֹ בְּכָל֯־לְ֯בַבְכֶם וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁ֒כֶם: וְנָתַתִּי מְטַר֯־אַ֯רְצְ֒כֶם בְּעִתּוֹ֯ י֯וֹרֶה וּמַלְקוֹשׁ וְאָסַפְתָּ דְגָנֶֽךָ וְתִירשְׁ֒ךָ וְיִצְהָרֶֽךָ: וְנָתַתִּי עֵֽשֶׂב֯ בְּ֯שָׂדְ֒ךָ לִבְהֶמְתֶּֽךָ וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָׂבָֽעְתָּ: הִשָּׁמְ֒רוּ לָכֶם פֶּן֯־יִ֯פְתֶּה לְבַבְכֶם וְסַרְתֶּם וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֱלֹהִים֯ אֲ֯חֵרִים וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתֶם לָהֶם: וְחָרָה אַף־יְהֹוָה בָּכֶם וְעָצַר֯ אֶ֯ת־הַשָּׁמַֽיִם וְלֹּא֯־יִ֯הְיֶה מָטָר וְהָאֲדָמָה לֹא תִתֵּן אֶת֯־יְ֯בוּלָהּ וַאֲבַדְתֶּם֯ מְ֯הֵרָה מֵעַל הָאָֽרֶץ הַטֹּבָה אֲשֶׁר֯ יְ֯הֹוָה נֹתֵן לָכֶם: וְשַׂמְתֶּם֯ אֶ֯ת־דְּבָרַי֯ אֵֽ֯לֶּה עַל֯־לְ֯בַבְכֶם וְעַל־נַפְשְׁ֒כֶם וּקְשַׁרְתֶּם֯ אֹ֯תָם לְאוֹת עַל֯־יֶ֯דְכֶם וְהָיוּ לְטוֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֵיכֶם: וְלִמַּדְתֶּם֯ אֹ֯תָם אֶת־בְּנֵיכֶם לְדַבֵּר בָּם בְּשִׁבְתְּ֒ךָ בְּבֵיתֶֽךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּ֒ךָ בַדֶּֽרֶךְ וּבְשָׁכְבְּ֒ךָ וּבְקוּמֶֽךָ: וּכְתַבְתָּם עַל־מְזוּזוֹת בֵּיתֶֽךָ וּבִשְׁעָרֶֽיךָ: לְמַֽעַן֯ יִ֯רְבּוּ יְמֵיכֶם וִימֵי בְנֵיכֶם עַל הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְהֹוָה לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם לָתֵת לָהֶם כִּימֵי הַשָּׁמַֽיִם עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ: And it will be— if you vigilantly obey My commandments which I command you this day, to love Adonoy your God, and serve Him with your entire hearts9The service of the heart is prayer, as David said (Psalms 141:2) “May my prayers be acceptable to You as an incense [service].” and with your entire souls— that I will give rain for your land in its proper time,10God will make it rain at night so as not to cause you discomfort.—Rashi the early (autumn) rain and the late (spring) rain;11Reward and punishment are here connected with the rainfalls vital to the Land of Israel. The heavy rains which open the growing season in the fall and the showers which fall while the grain is ripening are of utmost importance. and you will harvest your grain and your wine and your oil. And I will put grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Beware lest your hearts be swayed12One who is satisfied can easily be induced to forget the Source of his fullness.—Rashi and you turn astray, and you worship alien gods and bow to them. And Adonoy’s fury will blaze among you, and He will close off the heavens and there will be no rain and the earth will not yield its produce; and you will perish swiftly13No extension will be given. The “generation of the flood” was granted a reprieve of 120 years (Genesis 6:3) because they did not have from whom to learn; but you do have from whom to learn.—Sifrei, cited by Rashi from the good land which Adonoy gives you. Place these words of Mine14Even in exile you must fulfill God’s commandments—Sifrei cited by Rashi upon your hearts and upon your souls,— and bind them for a sign upon your hands, and they shall be for totafos between your eyes.15Between your eyes is not to be taken literally. The correct position of the phylactery of the head (shel rosh) is at the edge of the hair line directly above the place which is between the eyes. And you shall teach them to your sons, to speak them16From the moment your son knows how to talk, begin teaching him the Torah.—Rashi. when you sit in your house, and when you travel on the road, and when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gateways. In order that your days be prolonged, and the days of your children, upon the land which Adonoy swore to your fathers to give them [for as long] as the heavens are above the earth.
וַֽיֹּאמֶר֯ יְ֯הֹוָה֯ אֶ֯ל־משֶׁה לֵּאמֹר: דַּבֵּר֯ אֶ֯ל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם וְעָשׂוּ לָהֶם צִיצִת עַל־כַּנְפֵי בִגְ֒דֵיהֶם לְדֹרֹתָם וְנָתְ֒נוּ עַל־צִיצִת הַכָּנָף֯ פְּ֯תִיל תְּכֵֽלֶת: וְהָיָה לָכֶם לְצִיצִת וּרְאִיתֶם֯ אֹ֯תוֹ וּזְכַרְתֶּם֯ אֶ֯ת־כָּל־מִצְוֹת֯ יְ֯הֹוָה וַעֲשִׂיתֶם֯ אֹ֯תָם וְלֹא תָתֽוּרוּ אַחֲרֵי לְבַבְכֶם וְאַחֲרֵי עֵינֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר֯־אַ֯תֶּם זֹנִים֯ אַ֯חֲרֵיהֶם: לְמַֽעַן תִּזְכְּ֒רוּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶם֯ אֶ֯ת־כָּל־מִצְוֹתָי וִהְיִיתֶם קְדשִׁים לֵאלֹהֵיכֶם: אֲנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם֯ אֲ֯שֶׁר הוֹצֵֽאתִי אֶתְכֶם֯ מֵ֯אֶֽרֶץ מִצְרַֽיִם לִהְיוֹת לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים֯ אֲ֯נִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם֯: And Adonoy spoke to Moses saying: Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them17Rabbi Yehuda bar Chaviva said that this third section was added to Shema because of six important things contained therein: 1. the commandment of fringes, 2. mention of the Exodus, 3. the call to assume the yoke of God׳s commandments, 4. the warning against heretical concepts, 5. the warning against straying after sinful desires, and 6. the warning against idolatrous worship.—Maseches Berachos 12b to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations; and they will place with the fringes of each corner a thread of blue. And it will be to you for fringes, and you will look upon it and you will remember all the commandments of Adonoy,18Rabbi Meir says: “The blue thread of the fringes resembles the sea, the sea reflects the heavens, and heavens resemble the Throne of Glory” (Sifrei). The outward act of looking upon the tzitzis leads the Jew to inward spiritual conformity with the precepts of God. and you will perform them; and you will not turn aside after your hearts19The heart and the eyes of a person are the agents of sin—the eye sees, the heart desires, and thus the person sins —Tanchuma cited by Rashi. and after your eyes which cause you to go astray. In order that you will remember and perform all My commandments; and you will be holy unto your God. I am Adonoy, your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am Adonoy, your God—20Numbers 15:37-41.
יש לצרף אֱלֹהֵיכֶם לאֱמֶת You must be careful to connect the last words of Shema, ה’ אֱלֺקֵיכֶם (Adonoy, your God), with the word אמת (is true) without pause or interruption so that these three words form one sentence, meaning “Adonoy your God is true” (Maseches Berachos 13a).
אֱ֯מֶת —is true—
שליח ציבור: The chazan repeats:
יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם֯ אֱ֯מֶת: Adonoy, your God, is true.