Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

הֶן־עָם֙ כְּלָבִ֣יא יָק֔וּם וְכַֽאֲרִ֖י יִתְנַשָּׂ֑א לֹ֤א יִשְׁכַּב֙ עַד־יֹ֣אכַל טֶ֔רֶף וְדַם־חֲלָלִ֖ים יִשְׁתֶּֽה׃ (כג:כד)

Rashi brings from the Tanchuma that the Jews wake like a lion, and immediately don Talis, recite the “Shma”, and put on Tefillin.


Similarly, in the evening they quell potential disaster by reciting Shma and entrust their spirit to Hashem before retiring.

The Gemara (Brachot 12b) suggested adding the Parshat of Bil’am to the daily Shma, but for the fact that it is too long.

In addition to the reference to Yetziat Mizraim, the Gemara quotes our pasuk which includes יקום and ישכב , connected to בשכבך ובקומך. The Yerushalmi (Brachot 1:5) adds that Parshat Bil’am includes “Malchut”, in addition to the fact that there are references to Bil’am’s story in all sections of Tanach, i.e this week’s Haftarah, signifying its importance.

In Pirkei Avot (2:13) R’ Shimon alerts us to be diligent in reciting Shma. Pirkei Avot is mostly dedicated to Midot. In addition to the importance of Shma, R’ Shimon enjoins us to perform Shma with the attribute of “zehirut”, alacrity, probably taking his cue from our Pasuk.

Shabbat Shalom


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Rav Korn is a senior Rabbi at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh