Emet Vayatziv (אמת ויציב, true and certain) is the blessing that is recited after the Shema during Shacharit. It is a recognition of God's kingship and God as the One and only, and thankfulness to God for the exodus from Egypt, the slaying of the firstborn, the splitting of the sea, and the redemption of Israel from exile.
The word אמת (emet) is the beginning of the first paragraph. But it is appended to the end of the Shema. This is because of an ancient law that prohibits the interruption between the Shema and this blessing, and when added to the final two words of Shema, it states the God is true. It is mentioned that the word Emet should be appended to the Shema in Mishnah Tamid 5:1. The concept of truth occurs throughout this entire blessing. Orchos Chaim for this reason views the blessing as a review of the Shema.
The structure that appears in most siddurim is as follows:
- Emet Vayatziv is the first paragraph. The word emet (truth) is appended onto the Shema, and vayatziv appears as the first word.
- Al Harishonim is the second paragraph. It focuses on the truth of redemption.
- Ezrat Avoteinu is the third paragraph, and is an elaboration on the Exodus from Egypt
- The blessing ends with the paragraph Mi Komokha, ending with the blessing G'al Yisrael (Who Redeems Israel)
Obligation to recite
The obligation to recite Emet Vayatziv appears in Brachos 12a. Here, it is stated that whoever does not recite this paragraph has not fulfilled one's obligation "To proclaim your kindness in the morning, and your faithfulness at night," Verse 3 from Psalm 92, and therefore his obligation to recite Shema.
Do women recite Emet Vayatziv?
While it is questionable, according to traditional judaism, whether women are required or even allowed to recite the blessings accompanying the Shema, many authorities hold that women are obligated to recite Emet Vayatziv, since doing so fulfills the mitzvah of remembering the exodus from Egypt, which is not a time-bound commandment.
Emet V'Emunah, the blessing recited after the Shema at night
- Talelei oros By Gershon Robinson, page 600
- The World of Prayer: Commentary and Translation of the Siddur By Elie Munk, page 3
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur, page 95
- The Siddur companion By Paul H. Vishny, page 57
- Talelei oros By Gershon Robinson, page 590
- Halichos Bas Yisrael, Volume I By Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Fuchs, pages 35-36