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.:600
The first word of the blessing is אמת (emet). However, when recited communally, this word is appended to the end of the Shema. Upon finishing the Shema and saying the word emet, one waits for the chazzan to reach this point before continuing with veyatziv and the remainder of the blessing. This is because halacha prohibits interrupting between the Shema and this blessing, in order that the phrase אדני אלהיכם אמת (The Lord your God is true), whose first two Hebrew words come from the Shema and whose last word from this blessing, be recited. This practice is already mentioned in the Mishnah (Tamid 5:1).
The structure that appears in most siddurim is as follows:
- Emet Veyatziv is the first paragraph. The word emet (truth) is appended onto the Shema, and veyatziv 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 Ga'al Yisrael (Who Redeems Israel)
Obligation to recite
The obligation to recite Emet Veyatziv 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," (Psalms 92:3), and therefore his obligation to recite Shema.
Recitation by women
While it is questionable, according to halakha, whether women are required or even allowed to recite the blessings accompanying the Shema, many authorities hold that women are obligated to recite Emet Veyatziv, 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
- 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
- Halichos Bas Yisrael, Volume I By Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Fuchs, pages 35-36