Halacha for Tuesday 1 Sivan 5779 June 4 2019

The Customary Order of the Night of Shavuot

The Source for the Order of the Night of Shavuot
The widespread custom among the entire Jewish nation is to stay awake the entire night of Shavuot and immerse one’s self in Torah study until dawn. Indeed, the holy Zohar states: “The earlier righteous individuals would not sleep on this night and would toil in Torah and say, ‘Let us inherit a holy legacy for ourselves and for our children in both worlds.’” Similarly, the holy Zohar states: “All those who perform the order of rectification on this night and are glad about it shall be inscribed in the Book of Remembrance and Hashem shall bless them with seventy blessings and crowns from the upper realms.”

The Reason why we Customarily Stay Awake All Night
The Pirkei De’Rabbi Eliezer states: “Rabbi Pinchas says: The Jewish nation stood at Mount Sinai on Erev Shabbat with the men being prepared alone and the women being prepared alone. Hashem told Moshe, ‘Go ask the women of Israel if they are willing to accept the Torah, for men usually follow the decision of women,’ as the verse states, ‘So shall you say to the house of Yaakov,’ which refers to the women, ‘And speak to the house of Israel,’ which refers to the men. All answered as one, ‘Whatever Hashem has spoken, we shall perform and heed.’ That day the Jewish nation slept until the second hour of the day (approximately 7:00 am) at which point Moshe went around the camp of Israel awakening them from their sleep. He told them, “Awaken from your slumber! The groom has already arrived and is expecting his bride and is waiting for her in order to give them the Torah!”

Since at the time of the acceptance of the Torah the Jewish nation slumbered all night and Hashem needed to awaken them, we must therefore rectify this matter by staying awake all night long and immerse ourselves in Torah.

Women and the Order of the Night of Shavuot
Rabbeinu Yosef Haim of Baghdad writes in his book based on the Kabbalah that he was asked if it is proper for women to participate in the order of learning on the nights of Shavuot and Hosha’ana Rabba or not. He answers that the custom in his household is that the women do not recite the order of learning on the night of Shavuot and instead, they go to sleep. Although they are wise and righteous women who recite Tehillim and hold other learning sessions daily, nevertheless, according to Kabbalah it is not a good thing for women to stay awake on the night of Shavuot at all. He proceeds to support this from the words of the holy Zohar. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules likewise. However, this does not apply to Hosha’ana Rabba; on the contrary, it is actually a good practice for women to stay awake all night long on the night of Hosha’ana Rabba like men.

In the next Halacha we shall, G-d-willing, explain that one should recite the customary texts of this Order.

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of the Holiday of Sukkot

As per the request of many of our members and as a public service, we shall now list a synopsis of some laws which are essential for the upcoming Sukkot holiday: The Sukkah must be made of three walls and Sechach (the roof). The walls may be made of any material which can withstand a normal wi......

Read Halacha

Laying a Mouse Trap on Shabbat

Question: May one lay a mouse trap on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halachot we have discussed that one of the forbidden works on Shabbat is trapping; one who traps an animal on Shabbat is liable for the Torah prohibition of Shabbat desecration. We have written that if one traps animals which ......

Read Halacha

Setting a Trap on Shabbat

Question: May one set a trap for animals when the trap continues to operate on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have established that one of the thirty-nine works forbidden on Shabbat is trapping. This means that if one traps a living creature on Shabbat, one is liable for Shabbat dese......

Read Halacha

Taking Tylenol, Advil, and Sleeping Pills on Shabbat and the Tenth of Tevet

Question: May one take Tylenol or sleeping pills on Shabbat? Also, may Tylenol be administered to an infant who is running a fever on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halachot we have explained that an individual who is not truly ill (i.e. lying down in bed) may not take medication on Shabbat. We......

Read Halacha


Taking Vitamins and Non-Medication Pills on Shabbat

We have explained in the previous Halachot that our Sages prohibited one who is not truly ill to take medicine on Shabbat. Only if one feels ill throughout his body or must lie down in bed may one take medication to heal one’s self. We have discussed several details regarding this law. Conc......

Read Halacha

Bandages on Shabbat

Question: May one stick an adhesive bandage onto a wound on Shabbat? Answer: Regarding using adhesive bandages on Shabbat, there are three issues we must discuss: The first issue is healing on Shabbat, for as we have already explained in previous Halachot, our Sages have forbidden performing a......

Read Halacha

Taking Medicine on Shabbat

The Laws of Taking Medicine on Shabbat Our Sages teach us in Masechet Shabbat that performing any sort of healing, including taking medication to heal any sort of illness, is forbidden on Shabbat. The reason for this prohibition is because the Sages of the Talmud understood that when one was in dis......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Taking Medicine on Shabbat-Continued

In the previous Halacha, we have explained in general that our Sages enacted that one may not take any sort of medication on Shabbat, for they were concerned that as a result of one’s distress when a family member is ill, one may transgress Torah prohibitions in order to heal him, such as by g......

Read Halacha