Kinder Torah books are available for donation to your educational institution.
Simcha's Kinder Torah on the Chumash - 330 pages
Please contact the author.
"Abba, we are approaching the mitzvah of Kriyas Shema. This is a mitzvah di'oraysa (from the Torah), which we fulfill twice every day. It includes many yesodos (foundations) of the Torah, among them affirmation of Hashem's Oneness and acceptance of ole malcus shomayim (the yoke of the kingdom of heaven). I really want to do this mitzvah right."
"I am with you 100% Avi. Let us take a few minutes to delve into the halachos (laws) and kavannos (intentions) of Kriyas Shema. Then you will have the tools that you need to fulfill this tremendous mitzvah. Firstly, let me inform you that this mitzvah of Kriyas Shema has the power to guard ones limbs, prevent destruction, and cool off the fires of gehennom."
"What a powerful mitzvah!"
"Yes, Avi. The Medrash Tanchumaii Kedoshim 6 states that there are 248 words in Kriyas Shema corresponding to the 248 limbs in a person's body. Hashem says, 'If you will guard Mine (and read Kriyas Shema properly) I will guard yours (your 248 limbs).' The Gemoraiii Shabbos 119b relates that Rebbe Abahu said, 'Yerushalayim was only destroyed because they refrained from reciting Kriyas Shema in the morning and night.' Lastly, another Gemoraiiii Brachos 15b cites Rebbe Chama the son of Rebbe Chanina who teaches that gehennom will be cooled off for all those who read Kriyas Shema meticulously, taking care to precisely and accurately pronounce all of the letters. The Kad HaKemachiiv As cited in Etz Yosef in Otzer HaTefillos explains that gematria (numerical equivalent) of 'echad' is thirteen. The word 'gan' appears thirteen times in parashas Bereshis. The word 'aish' appears thirteen times in parashas Voeschanan concerning matan Torah. This is to inform us that all those who mechaven (concentrate properly) on the word 'echad' are saved from the fire of gehennom and merit 'gan eden' in particular, the thirteen attributes that it has."
"That is incredible, Abba!"
"Indeed, Avi. Now, let us learn the halachos. There are two types of kavannos in Kriyas Shema - firstly, the intention to fulfill the mitzvah of Kriyas Shema, and secondly, the concentration upon the meaning of the words. These are both halachos in Shulchan Aruch. The first, halacha states that the requirements of a mitzvah include having kavannah to fulfill that particular mitzvah.vv Orach Chaim 60:4 Ideally, a person must be careful before each mitzvah to have intention to fulfill his obligation of that mitzvah.vvi Mishna Brura (10) Secondly, Kriyas Shema has an additional requirement for kavannah. One who reads Kriyas Shema and does not concentrate his heart on the (meanings of the words of the) first verse - 'Shema Yisrael' - does not fulfill his obligation.vvii Orach Chaim 60:5 The simple kavannah is, 'Listen Yisrael, Hashem is our G-d. He in One.' He is Singular and Unique in the seven heavens, on the earth and in the four directions of the world. I believe this with perfect emunah.vviii Etz Yosef as cited in Otzer HaTefillos I accept this upon myself, and am prepared to give up my life for this emunah.iix Besamim Rosh as cited in Otzer HaTefillos
"All of the ten dibros are hinted to in the three paragraphs of Kriyas Shema. 'Hashem Elokeinu' hints to the first dibur - 'I am Hashem your G-d' (Shemos 20:2). 'Hashem echad' alludes to the second dibur - 'You shall have no other gods before Me' (Shemos 20:3).xx Mishna Brura (2) on Orach Chaim 61:2 Therefore, when you say 'Hashem Elokeinu' have kavannah to accept upon yourself the dibur - 'I am Hashem your G-d'. When you say, 'Hashem Echad' have kavannah to accept upon yourself the dibur - 'You shall have no other gods before Me'."xxi Anaf Yosef as cited in Otzer HaTefillos
"This is quite a commitment, Abba."
"Definitely, Avi. However, there is even more. The first verse is also like testimony, as if each person says to his friend, 'Listen, I believe that Hashem our G-d in the only One in His world.' Therefore, the letters 'ayin' and the 'daled' are enlarged, to indicate the word 'eid' (witness) - a hint to testimony. The first letter of the words 'ole malchus shomayim' are 'ayin, mem, shin' which spell 'shema' backwards. There are three meanings of 'shema' - to hear, to understand, and to accept. All three are found in the first verse, which exhorts every Jewish person to listen and understand that Hashem is the Master of the world, there is none other than Him, and to accept upon himself the yoke of His monarchy.xxii Abudarham "And so, the mitzvah of Kriyas Shema is referred to as 'unification of Hashem'. The root of this is twofold - emunah and kaballah. Emunah is expressed in the words, "Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad". It is the realization of the correctness of the perfect and true faith that Hashem is our G-d and that He is One, Individual, and Unique. One fulfills kaballah when he accepts upon himself the yoke of the kingdom of heaven in its entirety - His monarchy, Divinity, and Mastery. Immediately afterward, he accepts upon himself mesirus nefesh (self sacrifice in sanctification of the Holy Name)."xxiii Yesod Vi'shoresh Ho'avodah
"This is awesome mitzvah, Abba."
"Undeniably, Avi. Let us now go over the technical aspects of Kriyas Shema. It is a mitzvah to hold the tzitzis in your left hand, opposite your heart when you read Kriyas Shema. This is hinted to in the verse, 'And these matters that I command you today shall be upon your heart' (Devarim 6:6).xxiv Orach Chaim 24:2 Read Kriyas Shema with concentration, awe and fear, trembling and perspiration.xxv Orach Chaim 61:1 'Awe and fear' in acceptance of the yoke of the kingdom of heaven, and the commitment to give up ones life in sanctification the Holy Name.xxvi Mishna Brura (3) 'Trembling and perspiration', as if Kriyas Shema were a new declaration from the king.xxvii Mishna Brura (4) We are accustomed to reading the first verse in a loud voice in order to arouse the kavannah.xxviii Orach Chaim 61:4 We are accustomed to placing our hands [right handxxix Mishna Brura (17)] over our eyes when reading the first verse in order to not see anything that will interfere with our kavannah.xxx Orach Chaim 61:5 We must lengthen (our enunciation of) the 'ches' of 'echad' in order to coronate the Holy One, blessed be He upon the heaven and earth … and lengthen (our enunciation of) the 'daled' of 'echad' long enough to think that the Holy One, blessed be He is One in His world, and rules over the four directions of the world. Do not extend the 'daled' longer than this.xxxi Orach Chaim 61:6 Put emphasis on the 'daled' in order that it should not sound like a 'reish' [say it nicely, howeverxxxii Mishna Brura (21)].xxxiii Orach Chaim 61:7 Do not shorten the 'ches' and do not lengthen the 'aleph'."xxxiv Orach Chaim 61:8
"Abba, I do not know how to thank you. You have given me a veritable encyclopedia of Kriyas Shema!"
"Use it well Avi, to fulfill this awesome mitzvah in its entirety."
Kinderlach . . .
Kriyas Shema is a mitzvah di'oraysa that we have the privilege of fulfilling every morning and night. It confirms Hashem's Oneness in the seven heavens, on the earth and in the four directions of the world. When we say it, we listen and understand that Hashem is the Master of the universe, there is none other than Him, and accept upon ourselves the yoke of His monarchy. We commit ourselves to give up our lives in sanctification of His Holy Name. Kriyas Shema has the power to guard our limbs, prevent destruction, and cool off the fires of gehennom. Therefore, kinderlach, prepare yourselves to say Kriyas Shema by having intention to fulfill the mitzvah, gathering your tzitzis, and covering your eyes. Then say the words with intense kavannah. May this mitzvah bring you much blessing in this world, eternal reward in the world to come!
Kinder Torah Copyright 2012 All rights reserved to the author Simcha Groffman
NEW!!! NEW!!! NEW!!! NEW!!!
Kinder Torah is now available in .PDF format
Kinder Torah is now available in Hebrew
4400 copies of Kinder Torah are distributed each week in
Arzei Habira, Ashdod, Avnei Cheifetz, Bayit Vegan, Beit E-l, Beit
Shemesh, Beit Yisrael, Betar, Bnei Brak, Detroit, Edmonton, Ezras
Torah, Gateshead, Geula, Gilo, Givat Shaul, Givat Zev, Har Nof, Haifa,
Hayishuv Einav, Katamon, Kiryat Sefer, the Kosel HaMaaravi, Los
Angeles, Maale Adumim, Maalot Dafna, Manchester, Mattersdorf,
Mattisyahu, Mea Shearim, Miami Beach, Monsey, Netanya, Neve Yaakov,
Passaic, Philadelphia, Pisgat Zev, Queens, Ramat Gan, Ramat Sharet,
Ramat Shlomo, Ramot, Rannana, Rechasim, Romema, Rechovot, San Simone,
Sanhedria HaMurchevet, Shaare Chesed, Shevi Shomron, Telz Stone,
Toronto, Unsdorf , Zichron Yaakov, and on the Internet at
To support Kinder Torah, please contact the author at
Partial sponsorships are also available.
Back to This Week's Parsha| Previous Issues
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael
Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or
provided that this notice is included intact.
For information on subscriptions, archives, and other Shema Yisrael
Classes, send mail to email@example.com
Shema Yisrael Torah Network