Emet Veyatziv Venachon
After the Shema we recite a third blessing called Emet Veyatziv which surrounds Shema and serves as a prelude to
the Amida-Silent Meditative Prayer. The Talmud Berachot 11B states that if one does not recite Emet Veyatziv each
morning, he does not fulfill his daily prayer obligation.
The book Seder Hayom documents that the prayer was authored by leaders of the ancient Babylonian Jewish
community during the times of Ezra the Scribe (348 BCE) and the return of the people of Israel to Israel in order to
rebuild the Holy Temple. Ezra invited the Babylonian Jewish community to join in the return to Jerusalem. For
several reasons they chose not to participate. In order to demonstrate that despite their decision to remain in
Babylonia they nevertheless remained loyal and believing Jews, they penned this Tefillah-Emet Veyatziv and
presented it to Ezra and the leaders of Israel.
Although the prayer starts with the word Emet-Truth, in practice we recite Emet as the final word of the previous
Tefillah – Hashem Elokeychem Emet. The Talmud teaches that this practice is based on the verse in Jeremiah 10:10
that states, Hashem Elokim Emet-G-d, is the ultimate truth.
Emet Veyatziv begins with sixteen seemingly similar affirmations of the unwavering truth of G-d, Torah and
Mitzvoth. The obvious questions are A) Why sixteen? And B) Why so seemingly repetitious?
HaRav Pinchas Altshul of Plotsk zt”l (a disciple of the Vilna Ga’on) in Sidur Sha’ar Ha Rachamim writes that the
sixteen affirmations of truth reflect the sixteen verses in Shema and Vehaya Im Shamoa; and each word
corresponds directly to that particular verse. Therefore, the verse Shema corresponds to Emet, the verse Baruch
Shem corresponds to Veyatziv… and Rav Pinchus explains the sixteen connections (to read the commentary in full
see Siddur Otzar Hatefillot pp284 on the bottom right hand corner).
HaRav Shimon Schwab zt”l writes that the sixteen affirmations are divided up into eight sets of two. – Emet
Veyatziv/ Venachon Vekayam/ Veyashar Veneeman……. He explains the reason there are eight is to symbolize the
eight strands of Tzitzith on each corner of a Tallith. Since we are affirming the truth of G-d just mentioned in the
passage about Tzitzith, the structure of Emet Veyatziv embodies Tzitzith.
If something is genuinely true, it means that it is true in all circumstances, for all time, everywhere. The next two
verses in Emet Vayatziv proclaim that G-d, our protector and His Divine truth are for all times, and in all places that
have ever or will ever exist.
Take Home Tip: Although in our technologically advanced society whatever we buy will soon be outdated, the
priceless divine heritage of truth we received from our forefathers can never and will never become obsolete.