The Shabbos Table – Bo: R’ Y. Sacks Shlita: Krias Shema, Yetzias Mitzrayim, & the Most Important Ramba

This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my mother Chaya Rochel Bas Dovid Tzvi A”H, my sister Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my paternal grandmother Channah Freidel Bas Avraham A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein,

It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:

-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel

-My grandmother Shulamis Bas Etta


-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili

_R’ Simcha Yitzchak Ben Mirela Yudka

-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis

-Yonatan Menachem Mendel Ben Orly, Eli Aharon Michel Ben Chaya

-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of HaRav HaGa’on V’Sar HaTorah Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Ben HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky A”H, Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam) and other tragedies.

-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael during this dire time, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.

-The wounded should experience Refuah Shileimah, the captives should be returned safely, the fallen should experience Kevurah and Aliyah for their Neshamos and Nekamah for their Dam, their Krovim should experience Nechamah, the Chayalim should be Matzliach and Minatzei’ach, and Am Yisrael should experience Geulah.




Be”H, I will be translating / transcribing / paraphrasing Divrei Torah of my Rebbi, HaGaon R’ Yonason Avner Sacks Shlita. (Any inaccuracies, whether added, misrepresented, or due to omission and/or points lost in translation or context should be attributed to me alone. * = My addition.)






“Krias Shema, Yetzias Mitzrayim, & the Most Important Ramban”


Based on:

“Chiyuv Krias Shema,” (Orchos Yomim – Siman 3, Page 41)

“Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim” (Yomim MiKedem – Parshas Bo, Page 258; Orchos Yomim – Siman 6 Page 73)

“Nissim M’forsamim V’Nissim Nistarim” (Yomim MiKedem – Parshas Beshalach, Page 291)

Sicha – Parshas Bo: The Message of Krias Shema—parshas-bo-the-message-of-kriyas-shemah-for-a-ben-yeshiva




Krias Shema – D’Orayisa or D’Rabbanan


The Gemara in Brachos (21A) cites a Machlokes between Shmuel and R’ Elazar, whether reciting Krias Shema is D’Orayisa or D’Rabbanan. Though it may have seemed obvious that reciting Shema is Chiyuv D’Orayisa which is how the Shulchan Aruch holds, Halachah L’Ma’aseh (Shulchan Aruch O.C. 60), based on the P’sak of the Rif (12B) and the Rambam (Hilchos Krias Shema 1:1, 2:13), the Shitah of Shmuel assumes that this is not so.

How could it be that Krias Shema is only a Din D’Rabbanan when the Torah states, “V’Dibarta Bam”-“and you shall speak of them” (Devarim 6:7) and “U’V’Shachv’cha U’V’Kumecha”-“and when you lie down, and when you are arise” (Ibid.)? Shmuel argues, “HaHu B’Divrei Torah D’ch’siv,” that the charge which we are commanded in the Parsha of Krias Shema was written in reference to Talmud Torah.


How are we to understand that the Chiyuv of Krias Shema could only be required M’D’Rabbanan? Tosafos and Kesef Mishnah already raise the question regarding all of the Drashos pertaining to Z’man Kimah (the time of arising) and Z’man Sh’kivah (time of lying down) during one’s recitation of Shema; how is it that with all of these Drashos that Shema is only a Din D’Rabbanan, a mere Asmachta (allusion)?


Rabbeinu Yonah, Sha’agas Aryeh – Shitas Shmuel: How to be Mikabeil Ol Malchus Shamayim


Rabbeinu Yonah (12 in Dapei HaRif) and Sha’agas Aryeh (Siman 1) allude to a stunning Chiddush that R’ Elazar and Shmuel are not debating whether or not there is a Chiyuv of Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim *sourced in the passage of Krias Shema. All agree that there is a Mitzvah twice a day, each and every day, of Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim.

The Machlokes is not if such a Mitzvah exists, but how one fulfills this Mitzvah. R’ Elazar assumes that the Mitzvah of Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim is fulfilled through recitation of Krias Shema.

Shmuel argued however, “HaHu B’Divrei Torah D’ch’siv,” that the Pesukim in the Parsha of Krias Shema which instruct us to be Mikabel Ol Malchus Shamayim were written in reference to Talmud Torah. Here, Shmuel teaches us something profound; every Eisek (preoccupation) in Torah–you choose the Parsha! You choose the Pasuk!–not only is it an act of Talmud Torah, but it is an act of Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim. It does not have to be the Parsha of Krias Shema. It could be “Vayidabeir Hashem El Moshe Leimor.” If one recites the Pasuk and has the mindset of the revelation of Hashgachas Hashem, he is Mikabel Ol Malchus Shamayim.

The Chachamim chose the appropriate Parsha of Krias Shema to fulfill this Chiyuv; however, M’D’Orayisa, the Mitzvah “Pa’amayim B’Chol Yom” (lit., “twice everyday”) is simply to be Mikabel Ol Malchus Shamayim, and the Torah gave the Chachamim free reign to choose which Parsha would fulfill the Mitzvah.


Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim


The above is almost similar to what we find regarding the Mitzvah of Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim, where it seems so clear from the Gemara in Brachos (12B), that although there certainly exists such a Mitzvah, the Chachamim chose which Parsha one must recite to fulfill it, though other references could constitute the daily Mitzvah of remembering and invoking of Yetzias Mitzrayim.


Krias Shema – What is the Minimum Shiur?


We assume that every act of Eisek BaTorah constitutes Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim, but the specific Mitzvah requires Krias Shema. How much of Krias Shema is necessary to fulfill this Mitzvah D’Orayisa?

  •      Ramban – The First Pasuk

The Ramban (Milchamos, Rosh HaShannah 7A in Dapei HaRif) writes that one must recite the very first Pasuk. That is why the Gemara speaks of having added Kavanah for that Pasuk. That is the Mitzvah of Krias Shema, the Pasuk of “Shema Yisrael…”

  •      Rashi – The First Parsha

The Rashba writes that Rashi’s Shitah is that one must recite the entire first Parsha, Shema and V’Ohavta.

  •      Tosafos – The First Two Parshiyos

Pri Chadash (Siman 67) cites the Shitah of Tosafos that one requires both of the first two Parshiyos of Krias Shema (Shema-V’Ohavta and V’Hayah), as both contain “U’V’Shachv’cha U’V’Kumecha,” requiring our recitation, two times daily.

  •      Rambam – All Three Parshiyos

R’ Soloveitchik would often comment that when you look in the Rambam, it seems that the Rambam maintains that one requires all three Parshiyos M’D’Orayisa (Shema-V’Ohavta, V’Hayah, and Vayomer). When the Rambam describes Krias Shema (Hilchos Krias Shema 1:1-3), the Rambam writes “V’Krias Shalosh Parshiyos Al Seder Zeh Hi HaNikreis Krias Shema”-“and the reading of the three paragraphs in order, this is called ‘Krias Shema.'” That is stunning Chiddush, as it is clear from the Gemara that the last Parsha of Krias Shema is the Mitzvah of Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim. Why is this Parsha a necessary component of Krias Shema if it seems to discuss an entirely different Mitzvah?


Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim is Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim


R’ Soloveitchik quoted B’Sheim R’ Chaim that the Rambam never mentions the Mitzvah of Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim in Sefer HaMitzvos. Or Samei’ach writes accordingly that according to the Rambam, Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim is only a Mitzvah M’D’Rabbanan.

However, R’ Soloveitchik stated B’Sheim R’ Chaim that of course Rambam maintains that the Mitzvah of Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim is Mitzvah M’D’Orayisa, however, if one wants to know the Dinim of the Mitzvah of Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim according to the Rambam, one must look in Perek Aleph of Hilchos Krias Shema. That is because, R’ Chaim explains, Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim is not an independent Mitzvah according to the Rambam, but it is part of Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim. “Anochi Hashem Elokecha…”-“I am Hashem your G-d” (Shemos 20:2) declares the Yichud Hashem, Ol Malchus Shamayim. And the Pasuk continues, “Asher Hotzeisicha MeiEretz Mitzrayim”-“Who brought you forth from the land of Mitzrayim” (Ibid.) an immediate reference to Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim. These Mitzvos are not independent. It is not coincidental in any shape or form that during Krias Shema, we fulfill the Mitzvah of Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim.

The Gemara in Brachos (13B) writes that Rebbi was very careful to be Mazkir Yetzias Mitzrayim at the appropriate time. What was the appropriate time? Sha’agas Aryeh writes “Kol HaYom” (all day long); after all, “…Kol Yimei Chayecha” (Devarim 16:3). Rashi writes that his K’peidah (sensitive stringency) was to be Mazkir during the Z’man of Krias Shema. R’ Soloveitchik suggested that that is a Din D’Orayisa, that Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim must take place B’Zman Shkivah (at the time of lying down) and B’Zman Kimah (at the time of arising), as the Mitzvah is part of the Kiyum of Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim itself.


Why should this be the case? Why is Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim a key component of Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim? Why should Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim require Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim?


The Most Important Ramban


Perhaps this can be explained by the Ramban in his comments at the very end of Parshas Bo (Shemos 13:16). Why is it that Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim occupies such a prime position throughout the Mitzvos HaTorah? Why is there this daily obligation? Why is it that so many Mitzvos relate to Yetzias Mitzrayim? Why is Yetzias Mitzrayim so prominent?

  • Nissim Giluyim & Nissim Nistarim

The Ramban writes:


“וּמִן הַנִּסִים הַגְּדוֹלִים הַמְּפֻרְסָמִים אָדָם מוֹדֶה בַּנִּסִּים הַנִּסְתָּרִים”

“…and from the great, public miracles, a person will concede regarding the hidden miracles.”


The purpose of Yetzias Mitzrayim and all of the Nissim it brought were not for the moment itself, but rather to hone your vision so that you recognize that everything is a result of Hashgachas Hashem.

  • You have no Cheilek in Toras Moshe Rabbeinu without this:

The Ramban continues:


“שֶׁאֵין לָאָדָם חֵלֶק בְּתּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ עַד שֶׁנַּאֲמִין בְּכָל דְּבָרֵינוּ וּמִקְרֵינוּ שֶׁכֻּלָם נִסִים אֵין בָּהֶם טֶבַע וּמִנְהָגוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם”

“…that a person does not have a portion (share) in the Torah of Moshe Rabbeinu until we believe in all our matters and occurrences, that all of them are miracles; there is no ‘nature’ and ‘typical practice’ in the world…”


There is nothing in life that is “natural.” The division in life is not “natural” versus “supernatural.” The division is Nissim Giluyim (revealed miracles) and Nissim Nistarim (concealed miracles). Everything–“Al Nisecha SheB’Chol Yom Imanu”-“on account of Your miracles of everyday (with which You deal) with us”–everything is an absolute Neis. Certain Nissim are repeated. They are things which we witness with such regularity that we dismiss them as being “natural,” but all of it is a result of Hashgachas Hashem. And every once in a while, you experience a Neis Nigleh like the Nissim of Yetzias Mitzrayim in order to recognize, when you take a step back and realize that “מִן הַנִּסִים הַגְּדוֹלִים הַמְּפֻרְסָמִים אָדָם מוֹדֶה בַּנִּסִּים הַנִּסְתָּרִים.”

  • The Mission Statement & Purpose of Creation

The Ramban writes that that is the essence of Yetzias Mitzrayim and that this is the mission that each of us has in this world:


“וְכַוָּנַת כָּל הַמִּצְּוֹת שֶׁנַּאֲמִין בֵּאלֹקֵנוּ וְנוֹדֶה אֵלָיו שֶׁהוּא בָּרָאנוּ, וְהִיא כַּוָּנַת הַיְּצִירָה, שֶׁאֵין לָנוּ טַעַם אַחֵר בַּיְּצִירָה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה, וְאֵין קֵל עֶלְיוֹן חָפֵץ בְּתַּחְתּוֹנִים מִלְּבַד שֶׁיֵּדַע הָאָדָם וְיוֹדֶה לֵאלֹקָיו שֶׁבָּרְאוֹ”


“The intention of all Mitzvos is that we believe in our G-d, and give thanks to Him that He created us; and this is the intention of all of Creation (lit., Design), because we have no other reason for original design, and the Supreme G-d desires nothing in the lower (terrestrial) realms other than that man should recognize (lit., know) and thank His G-d Who created him.”

The mission statement of every person is simply to recognize Hashgachas Hashem and to thank HaKadosh Baruch Hu incessantly for everything that He does, every act of Chessed. That, the Ramban writes, is the takeaway, the lesson of Yetzias Mitzrayim.


“Hu Borei U’Manhig”-“He is the Creator and the Guide / Driver”


If the purpose of Yetzias Mitzrayim is to indicate Hashgachas Hashem, if the purpose of Yetzias Mitzrayim is to recognize and thank HaKadosh Baruch Hu for every experience, one can easily understand how and why, according to the Rambam, Zechiras Yetzias Mitzrayim is not an independent Mitzvah, but it is an inherent part of Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim. Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim does not just mean to recognize HaKadosh Baruch Hu as the Borei, the Creator, but to acknowledge Him a the Manhig (Guide and Driver), and that again means that “אֵין בָּהֶם טֶבַע וּמִנְהָגוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם” (“there is no ‘nature’ and ‘typical practice’ in the world”).



*We should all be Zocheh to, on the one hand, be Mikabel Ol Malchus Shamayim in our every Eisek (engagement) in Torah, but to also be Mikabel Ol Malchus Shamayim in this greatest sense, to experience, recognize and thank Hashem for every Chessed, fulfill our purpose in this world, and Hashem should bring His world to its purpose with the Geulah and the coming of Moshiach, Bimheirah BiYomeinu! Have a wonderful Shabbos!