web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Q & A: Staying Awake Shavuot Night


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: Many people stay awake Shavuot night and learn Torah. Is this proper considering that one’s davening the next morning may lack kavannah as a result? Wouldn’t it make more sense to get a good night’s sleep and then learn with more fervor the next day?

No Name Please
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, rosh Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim (She’eilat Shlomo 1:26-27, 222 ), discusses this matter at length. The Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 494), citing the Zohar, notes that the custom of learning all night on Shavuot is an attempt to rectify our misdeed at Mt. Sinai. When Hashem “arrived” to give us the Torah, we were sleeping and had to be woken up. We therefore stay awake all night nowadays, spiritually rectifying this sin and showing our zeal for Torah.

Rabbi Aviner cautions, though, that one should take into account that staying awake all night may hurt one’s kavannah during Shacharit. If it will, it is far better not to stay awake. Davening with proper concentration is more important than staying up all night since tefillah is a time-related obligation. Rabbi Aviner cites the Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 619:11) who makes this same point regarding the custom of staying up all night on Yom Kippur. The Magen Avraham writes that one shouldn’t stay up if it will harm one’s kavannah the next day.

Rabbi Yitzchak Ze’ev Soloveitchik, the Brisker Rav (Uvdot Ve’Hanhagot Le’Beit Brisk vol. 2, p. 79), expressed his surprise that people are so particular to stay awake the entire night of Shavuot – which is only a custom – but are not careful to discuss the Exodus from Egypt on Pesach night until they are overcome by sleep – which is an actual law. Indeed, in the city of Brisk, people were not meticulous to stay up all night on Shavuot. They didn’t see the difference between that night and any other night. (One can only imagine the Torah learning of an “ordinary” night in Brisk!) The Brisker Rav also reasoned that learning on Shavuot night is no more important than learning on Shavuot day.

The sefer Ha-Shakdan (vol. 2, p. 240) reports that Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv was asked by his grandson why he doesn’t stay awake all night on Shavuot and goes to sleep at his usual time of 2 a.m. Rabbi Elyashiv explained that he calculated that if he changed his routine by foregoing his usual few hours of sleep on Shavuot night, not only would he not gain more learning time, but he would actually lose 15 minutes. He therefore preferred to go to sleep at his usual time.

Each person should carefully consider if it is worthwhile for him to stay up all night since there is the concern that “yatza secharo b’hefseido – the gain is offset by the loss” (Avot 5:11).

Those people who will stay up all night, and whose kavannah will not be harmed, should be aware of some pertinent halachot for Shavuot morning.

Tzitzit: A person who wears tzitzit all night should not recite a new blessing on it in the morning. He should try to hear the blessing from someone who is obligated to recite it or he should have his tzitzit in mind when he recites the blessing over his talit (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 8:16 with Mishnah Berurah sk42).

Netilat Yadayim: A person should wash netilat yadayim without a blessing or hear it from someone who is obligated to recite it (Shulchan Aruch Harav 4:13). Another option, which is preferable, is that one use the restroom and thus become obligated to wash netilat yadayim according to all opinions (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 4:13 with Mishnah Berurah sk27, 29, 30).

Elokai Neshamah and Ha-Ma’avir Sheinah: The former should be recited without its concluding blessing (“hamachazir neshamot…”) and the latter should be recited sans mention of Hashem’s Name. Better yet, if at all possible, these paragraphs should be heard from someone who is obligated to recite them (one who has slept), since these blessings were specifically established as a praise to Hashem for the daily restoration of our souls and the removal of sleep and thus should only be said if one has slept (Mishnah Berurah, Orach Chayim 47:30 and Biur Halachah). If one sleeps even half an hour, one is obligated to recite these blessings (Mishnah Berurah, Orach Chayim 4:34-35 and Biur Halachah s.v “Dovid v’chulu…”).

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: Staying Awake Shavuot Night”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The Midrash is teaching a fundamental message of what it means to be a religious person.

Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Vol. LXVI No. 3                           5775 New York City CANDLE LIGHTING TIME January 16, 2015–25 Teves 5775 4:36 p.m. NYC E.S.T.   Sabbath Ends: 5:40 p.m. NYC E.S.T. Sabbath Ends: Rabbenu Tam 6:08 p.m. NYC E.S.T. Weekly Reading: Va’era Weekly Haftara: Koh Amar Hashem (Ezekiel 28:25-29:21) Daf Yomi: Yevamos 104 Mishna Yomit: Kelim 17:2-3 Halacha Yomit: […]

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/staying-awake-shavuot-night/2012/05/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: