Return to homepage

Bookmark This Site
Search our site
Have a question about Jewish customs and practices?
Send this page to a friendIncrease Font
Page DownBottom

Share this page
by: Rabbi Dan S. Wiko PhD
  See the rabbi's bio.
Send a question to the Rabbi

This Month...

Editor's Comment
Michael looks at:
Farewell, Shalom and Adieu

An Open Letter from Abba to His Family

Enough With The Political Finger-Pointing!

Revisiting the Haggadah

Eddy's Recipe List
Victoria Sponge

Book Review
Unstrung Heroes

The Outspeaker
Encouraging violence is never correct

Good times and bad times with Batya

Nathan Weissler
What my friendship with Michael Hanna-Fein meant to me

Marjorie Wolfe
An Interview with Paul Reiser

BC's Backlot
The Last Shalom

This And That
My Treasure Chest

Three Symbols of Passover


Lynn Ruth Miller
How we all became part of a bigger story

Mel Yahre
A few words for my friend

Eddy's Thoughts
Don't let life flutter by

The Bear Facts
How I found Michael



On Wednesday, May 04, 2005 I was asked the following question:

What can you tell me about “Shema Yisroel”; why do we have to recite it twice each day and at specific times?

This was my response:

Dear Friend,

Mitzvot – Commandments, come in two types; “d’Oreisah” – Divine Decree and “d’Rabbonon” – Rabbinic decree. The recitation of the Shema is d’Oreisah because Torah instructs us to recite it “when thou liest down and when thou risest up”.

When we recite it…the time of day and evening is b’Rabbonon. That is to say, the rabbis of the Senhedrin concluded that “when thou liest down” is at a time, after darkness sets in, when the Kohain had been ritually purified and ate his offering.
“When thou risest up” was concluded as meaning to be the time of morning when there was just enough natural light to be able to see the blue strings among the white in the tallit. It was, later, concluded that, princes and kings trended to arise later than most people and, since we are all of kingly lineage, it was appropriate to delay the morning Shema until one could see the difference between the blue strings and something green (i.e. grass, leaves, etc.)

With the advent of time-measuring instruments, the Mitzvah b’Oreisah remains unchanged…Torah is complete and inalterable. However, the rulings of the rabbis can change…and did. It is now appropriate to recite the morning Shema by not later than 9:20 AM and the evening Shema up to the time that one goes to bed.

This is merely a brief response to your question and can be elaborated on in another issue. If you are seriously interested in reading the explanation of this or of any mitzvoth, look to the Mishna for your answers.

If you have questions about a personal matter, or jewish practices and customs, you can submit them to me by e-mail. I answer all queries directly, or through this column, when the question is informative to our community.

Thank you for your kind attention and this opportunity to share with you,
Rabbi Dan S. Wiko
Back to the list


Important dates

Michael answers almost all of them.

News article of interest to our community.


Tshatshkes, shmates and other shlok for the discriminating shopper.

Our  (real world) magazine

Interesting tidbits of jewishness


Have the Gantseh Megillah dropped directly into your e-mail box

Environmentally friendly Megillah bag

Audio and video Yiddishkayt

Buy him a Megillah shirt

See everything we have to offer


  See a list of all the Rabbi Dan questions      

Page UpTop Small Monitor Subscribe Tzedakeh Links

Subscribe (free) to the Gantseh Megillah. The Gantseh Megillah and are designed and hosted by HannaVisioN About this site Send a financial contribution to this site Contact us See our glossary of Yiddish words and expressions Log In Join
Personal insights from two yiddishe meydls Life stories from the heart News and information with a lighter touch Politics and policy with a Yiddishe taam