Brachot 11 - Lying Down to Say the Shema

Bait Shammai say that in the evening one must lie down in order to read the Shema, and in the morning he needs to be standing, since the Torah said, " When you lie down and when you arise ."  However, Beit Hillel say that one can say the Shema in any position he finds himself, since the Torah also said, " While you go on the way ," and that is neither lying down nor standing up. How does Beit Hillel explain "when you lie down and when you arise?" They say, it is talking about the time when people lie down and arise, not about the physical position. And Beit Shammai, how do they know the times to say the Shema? They answer, the Torah said, "When you lie down," and not "when lying down" to tell us both the time and the position.

Rabbi Tarfon said, "I was once on the road, and when the time for the evening Shema came, I lay down, to fulfill the words of Beit Shammai, and I almost came in danger because of the robbers." His colleagues told him, "It would have been your own fault, for transgressing the words of Beit Hillel."

The morning Shema is accompanied by two blessing before it and one after. These are thanks for giving the Torah and for help in studying it, as well as thanks and requests for God's help in all other areas. In parallel, the evening Shema has two blessings before and two blessings after it.

Art: Paul Cezanne - Boy Resting