SECTION 62 Laws Relating to One who Recited the Shema Imprecisely or Inaudibly. (1–3)

סימן סב דִּין מִי שֶׁלֹּא דִּקְדֵּק בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע אוֹ לֹא הִשְׁמִיעַ לְאָזְנוֹ וּבוֹ ג' סְעִיפִים:

1 Though one should pronounce the letters [of the Shema] precisely, if he recited them without such precision, he has [after the fact] fulfilled his obligation.1

א אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לְדַקְדֵּק בְּאוֹתִיּוֹתֶיהָ,א קָרָא וְלֹא דִּקְדֵּק בָּהֶן – יָצָא:ב,1

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2 The Shema may be recited in any language. [Our Sages interpret2 the word] Shema — “hear” [as implying that the passage may be recited] “in any language that you hear” [i.e., that you understand]. [When reciting the Shema in another language,] one should vigilantly avoid unfaithful translations in that language and should pronounce its letters precisely, as he would in the Holy Tongue.3

[This leniency is granted] provided he understands the language [in which he recites the Shema]. The same applies to Shemoneh Esreh and the Grace after Meals.4 However, with regard to Kiddush, the blessings recited over the performance of mitzvos, and Hallel, one fulfills his obligation even if he does not understand the language [in which he is reciting these prayers].5

ב יָכוֹל לִקְרוֹתָהּ בְּכָל לָשׁוֹן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:ג,2 "שְׁמַע" – בְּכָל לְשׁוֹן שֶׁאַתָּה שׁוֹמֵעַ.ד וְיִזָּהֵר מִדִּבְרֵי שִׁבּוּשׁ שֶׁבְּאוֹתוֹ לָשׁוֹן, וִידַקְדֵּק בְּאוֹתִיּוֹתָיו כְּמוֹ בִּלְשׁוֹן הַקֹּדֶשׁ.ה,3 וְהוּא שֶׁמֵּבִין הַלָשׁוֹן.ו וְהוּא הַדִּין לִתְפִלָּהז וּבִרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן.ח,4 אֲבָל קִדּוּשׁט וּבִרְכוֹת הַמִּצְווֹתי וְהַלֵּל – יוֹצֵא אֲפִלּוּ אֵינוֹ מֵבִין הַלָּשׁוֹן:5

3 One should make [the words] he utters audible to himself. [This, too, is implied by the word] Shema — “hear,” [which is interpreted,]1 “Make [your words] heard by your [own] ears.” If one did not make [his words] audible, he has [after the fact] fulfilled his obligation, provided he enunciated the words with his lips. If, however, he read [the Shema] in his heart [alone, without enunciating the words], he has not fulfilled his obligation, for “thought is not equivalent to speech.”6

However, one should think over [these words] if an unavoidable predicament prevents him from enunciating them — if, for example, he cannot speak [words of Torah] because the place he is in is unclean,7 but not entirely filthy.8 Although he does not fulfill his obligation unless he actually says the words, he should nevertheless think them over in his heart. G‑d will see into his heart and reward him for his thoughts. As the Midrash comments9 on the verse,10 “Lend Your ear to my words, O G‑d; understand my meditations;” King David was saying: “Master of the Universe! When I can speak, ‘lend Your ear to my words’; when I cannot speak, ‘understand my meditations.’” The last word (hagigi) refers to thought, for if it were to refer to speech, [a request to] “understand” would be inappropriate even if addressed to a mortal listener. Since, however, the subject at hand is in the realm of thought, the term “understand” is used. This is also apparent from the verse,11 “When I meditate a fire burns; [so, too,] when I spoke with my tongue.” This implies that speech is one thing and thought, another.

ג צָרִיךְ לְהַשְׁמִיעַ לְאָזְנָיו מַה שֶּׁמּוֹצִיא מִפִּיו, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "שְׁמַע"1 – הַשְׁמַע לְאָזְנֶיךָ.יא וְאִם לֹא הִשְׁמִיעַ לְאָזְנָיו – יָצָא,יב וּבִלְבַד שֶׁיּוֹצִיא בִּשְׂפָתָיו. אֲבָל אִם קְרָאָהּ בְּלִבּוֹ – לֹא יָצָא, שֶׁהִרְהוּר אֵינוֹ כְּדִבּוּר.יג,6

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם אִם הוּא אָנוּס שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהוֹצִיא בִּשְׂפָתָיו, כְּגוֹןיד שֶׁאֵין הַמָּקוֹם נָקִי7 בְּעִנְיָן שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהוֹצִיא בִּשְׂפָתָיו, דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁאֵין הַמָּקוֹם מְטֻנָּף לְגַמְרֵי8 – יֵשׁ לוֹ לְהַרְהֵר.טו וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא יְדֵי חוֹבָה אֶלָּא בַּאֲמִירָה – יֵשׁ לוֹ לְהַרְהֵר בְּלִבּוֹ,טז וַה' יִרְאֶה לְבָבוֹ וְיִתֵּן לוֹ שְׂכַר הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה. דְּאֲמְרִינַן הָכֵי בַּמִּדְרָשׁ:יז, 9 "אֲמָרַי הַאֲזִינָה ה'",יח, 10 אָמַר דָּוִד: רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁאֲנִי יָכוֹל לְדַבֵּר – "אֲמָרַי הַאֲזִינָה", וּבְשָׁעָה שֶׁאֵינִי יָכוֹל לְדַבֵּר – "בִּינָה הֲגִיגִי". וַ"הֲגִיגִי" רָצָה לוֹמַר הֲמַּחְשָׁבָה, שֶׁאִם הָיָה רוֹצֶה לוֹמַר דִּבּוּר – אֲפִלּוּ לְבָשָׂר וָדָם אֵין לוֹמַר "בִּינָה" בְּדָבָר שֶׁשּׁוֹמֵעַ, אֶלָּא מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁאֵינוֹ אֶלָּא בְּמַחֲשָׁבָה אָמַר לְשׁוֹן "בִּינָה". וְכֵן נִרְאֶה מֵהַפָּסוּק שֶׁאוֹמֵריט, 11 "בַּהֲגִיגִי תִבְעַר אֵשׁ דִּבַּרְתִּי בִּלְשׁוֹנִי", דְּמַשְׁמָע שֶׁהַדִּבּוּר דָּבָר אֶחָד וְהַמַּחֲשָׁבָה דָּבָר אַחֵר: