מאימתי קורין את שמע בשחרית משיכיר בין תכלת ללבן ר' אליעזר אומר בין תכלת לכרתי (וגומרה) עד הנץ החמה ר' יהושע אומר עד שלש שעות שכן דרך מלכים לעמוד בשלש שעות
In these dog days of summer, when many are away at camp and need not follow the rigorous schedule of Yeshiva, it is somewhat difficult to complete the Krias-Shma before three hours into the day.
In truth, it is somewhat difficult to get up after a late Thursday night Mishmor, or a long night of blogging, even during the year.
Which brings to mind the question as to why our Krias-Shema time-limits should be governed by Kingly waking habits? Yes, all Jewish people are regal, but can't a king wake when he wishes?
A recent blackout solved this mystery for me. When the lights go out, there is not much to do in the dark. Before the light bulb was invented, people probably went to bed at 6, 7, 8 or 9PM, depending on the time of year. People rose when the rooster crowed, at 5 or 6 or 7 AM.
Aside from kings, who could afford an abundance of tallow fat candles, everyone went to bed early and rose early in the morning. As soon as it was light outside, people tended to their work, which was limited to sun-shine hours. Only kings could afford the luxury of lazing around in their beds for three full hours after sunrise.
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