Brachot 5 - Prayer Shema at Bedtime

Even though one said the Shema in the synagogue during the evening prayer, it is still a mitzvah to recite it again before going to sleep. Why? The psalm says, "Reflect in your hearts while on your beds, and then be silent." Resh Lakish sees another lesson here: a man should constantly agitate his good thoughts against the bad ones ("Agitate and don't sin"); if he removes the bad, good, but if not - let him study Torah ("reflect in your hearts"); if he wins, good, if not - let him say the Shema ("on your beds"); if that does not help, he should remind himself of the day of death ("be silent").

Rabbi Zeira said, "Look how the Holy One Blessed Be He is not like a person of flesh and blood. If a person sells a cherished object to another, he is sad, and the buyer is happy. But the Holy One Blessed Be He gave the Torah to Israel and He rejoiced, saying 'For I have given you a good doctrine, do not abandon My Torah.'"

If a person sees afflictions befalling him, he should investigate his deeds, since the nature of the affliction may have a hint for him. If he examined his deeds and did not find anything, he should attribute it to neglect of Torah study, based on the phrase "Fortunate is the man whom God afflicts, and whom You teach from Your Torah." If he did not find that either, they are "afflictions of love," since "For God rebukes the one He loves."

Art: Cornelis Bisschop - Old Woman Sleeping