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Completing 248 Words of Shema

Regarding the answer to making the shema add up to 248 words if one davens alone, you mentioned the Gra only adding 2 words? Isn’t the GRA missing 1 word from the 248? Which words would the Gra use as the extra? Can you also elaborate on the Aruch Hashuchan saying that any 2 or 3 words within shema will suffice? Can one add any 3 words within Shema, not necessarily the last 3? What is the best way to (assuming one davens alone) to accomplish the 248? Be more elaborate if possible. Thank you


On the contrary, the reason why the Shaliach Tzibbur should not say emes before repeating the last three words, as ruled by the Gra, is that by repeating the word ’emes’ twice one reaches 249 words rather than 248. This is the reasoning advanced by Rama of Fano (Asara Ma’amaros 28:1), which is the source of the ruling, and this is ruled by the Mishnah Berurah (61:8).

However, others write that the Shaliach Tzibbur repeats the three words after saying the word ’emes’ (Beis Yosef; Shulchan Aruch 61:3; see Peri Megadim who writes that this is the custom, as brought by the Mishnah Berurah; see Magen Avraham 61:1, citing from Maharam Alshaker 61; see also Shulchan Aruch Ha-Graz 3 who cites both customs, as does Aruch Hashulchan 11). According to this custom, some write that the first ’emes’ is part of the 248 words, and some write that the second ’emes’ is counted.

Concerning somebody davening alone, there was certainly an ancient custom to recite the words E-l Melech Ne’eman, and this is brought by the Rema as being the custom, but the Beis Yosef writes that it is not the custom to recite these words, citing from the Zohar that the three words cannot be made up, and adding a different kavanah in the words of emes ve-yatziv that makes up (to some degree) the missing words, and mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch.

The Aruch Hashulchan writes that the missing words can be made up by repeating the words “Eschem Me’eretz Mitzrayim,” and that he saw individuals doing so.

The Yerushalmi, however, writes that the last three words are repeated even by individuals, and this is mentioned by the Bach and the Peri Chadash, and by the Birkei Yosef in the name of the Arizal. This latter opinion is also ruled by leading Sephardi poskim (Kaf Ha’chayim (Falagi) and Rav Pe’alim; see also Yecheveh Daas 3:5).

The common custom (for Ashkenazim) is either to follow the ruling of the Rema, and say the words E-l Melech Ne’eman, which is the ancient custom, or to repeat the words Hashem Elokeichem Emes.

According to many the second option is preferable.

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