Q-5.1: QUESTION

Following is the text of Mishnah 1:1 that we studied at the beginning of the course.
  1. FROM WHAT TIME MAY ONE RECITE THE SHEMA' IN THE EVENING?
  2. --FROM THE TIME THAT THE PRIESTS ENTER IN ORDER TO EAT THEIR TERUMAH
  3. UNTIL THE END OF THE FIRST WATCH.
  4. THESE ARE THE WORDS OF RABBI ELIEZER.
  5. THE SAGES SAY: UNTIL MIDNIGHT.
  6. RABBAN GAMALIEL SAYS: UNTIL THE DAWN COMES UP...
Whose opinions are represented in lines #ii and #iii
according to Alfasi?
according to his opponents?
Discuss these questions with your study-partner, and then mail in the answers.


Now return to our discussion



Q-5.2.2: QUESTION

The identical phenomenon--of communities reciting the evening Shema' earlier than the permissible time, in overt violation of the Talmudic regulations-- has been reported in locations as diverse as Iraq (Babylonia), France, Spain and Egypt.

Speculate about possible reasons for this situation.

You need not limit yourself to strictly halakhic considerations. Take into account possible historical, climatic, psychological or exegetical factors that might have influenced the popular practice.


Discuss these questions with your study-partner, and then mail in the answers.


Now return to our discussion