Keriat Shema al Ha-mita

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is a woman obligated?
If so or not so, what should she actually say?

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Asked on November 27, 2019 9:45 pm
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The Talmud teaches that one should recite Shema and Ve-ahavata along with Ha-Mapil in bed before going to sleep (Berachot 60b). One could argue that Keriat Shema al Ha-mita is a positive time-bound mitzva, so women are exempt (Magen Avraham 239:2). However, one reason given for reciting Keriat Shema al Ha-mita is for protection over the course of the night (Berachot 5a). Since women require protection no less than men, women should recite it as well (Eliya Rabba 239:4).

Customs vary regarding how much of Shema to say and reciting other verses and prayers. The minimum, as above, is to recite Shema, Ve-ahavata, and Ha-mapil. A woman may recite more at her own discretion. If she has not recited Shema at ma’ariv, she may especially wish to recite Ve-haya im shamo’a and Va-yomer, taking the opportunity to receive the yoke of mitzvot and to mention the Exodus from Egypt. For more on women and Shema, see here and here.

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Answered on November 27, 2019 9:52 pm