Halacha for Monday 28 Iyar 5781 May 10 2021

The Laws of the Bedtime Keri’at Shema Regarding Women and Following Halachic Midnight

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that one should recite the “Hamapil” blessing before reciting the bedtime Keri’at Shema. This blessing should be recited along with Hashem’s name like all other blessings. We have also explained that although one should preferably take care not to speak at all following the bedtime Keri’at Shema so as not to interrupt between reciting it and going to sleep, nevertheless, if one did in fact speak, one should not repeat this blessing and the blessing one has already recited is not a blessing in vain. The reason for this is because the essence of this blessing does not relate to the personal sleep of the individual reciting it; rather, it relates to the behavior and nature of mankind who go to sleep at night.

Based on the simple understanding of the matter, clearly, one should recite the “Hamapil” blessing along with Hashem’s name whether one goes to sleep at the beginning of the night or the end, for the entire night is considered a time that people sleep and as long as this is the case, one should still recite this blessing.

Hagaon Harav Yeshaya Bassan (one of the foremost sages of Italy and rabbi of the Ramchal, Rabbeinu Moshe Chaim Luzzato) writes in his Responsa Lachmei Todah (Chapter 21) that someone claimed that according to the Kabbalah, one should not recite the “Hamapil” blessing when going to sleep after halachic midnight; however, he writes that the truth is that one must recite this blessing at any time one goes to sleep at night. Nevertheless, several great Mekubalim write that this blessing should not be recited past halachic midnight; Hagaon Rabbeinu Yosef Haim of Baghdad rules likewise in his Responsa Rav Pe’alim (Sod Yesharim, Chapter 14). Indeed, the Chessed Le’Alafim writes that the custom of the Mekubalim of Jerusalem is not to recite the “Hamapil” blessing past halachic midnight. Other great Jerusalem luminaries write likewise. Thus, since the prevalent custom regarding this matter is not necessarily in line with the ruling of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch in addition to several other disagreements which exist here and the fact that regarding blessings, we usually follow the rule “When in doubt regarding a blessing, do not bless,” Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules that when going to sleep past halachic midnight, one should recite the “Hamapil” blessing without Hashem’s name and merely thinking Hashem’s name in one’s mind will be sufficient out of concern for the opinion of the Mekubalim regarding this matter.

All of the above is based on what Maran zt”l has written in several of his works. Nevertheless, we should point out that the personal custom of Maran zt”l on this matter was to ignore the opinion of the Mekubalim and to follow the ruling of the Poskim and he would recite the “Hamapil” blessing along with Hashem’s name even when going to sleep after halachic midnight. Maran zt”l indeed instructed his son, Hagaon Harav David Yosef Shlit”a to write in his Sefer Halacha Berura that halachically speaking, in his opinion, the “Hamapil” blessing should be recited along with Hashem’s name even after halachic midnight.

Women are also obligated to recite the bedtime Keri’at Shema, for the bedtime Keri’at Shema serves as a protection and women likewise require such protection. Thus, although women are exempt from the daytime Keri’at Shema according to the letter of the law (although it is proper for them to recite Keri’at Shema every morning while omitting Hashem’s name from the blessings of Keri’at Shema), they are nevertheless obligated to recite the bedtime Keri’at Shema. They are likewise obligated to recite the “Hamapil” blessing, for this blessing is not considered a positive, time-bound Mitzvah (such as the Mitzvot of Shofar, Sukkah, Lulav, etc.). Rather, it is a blessing of praise to Hashem that, in essence, applies at all times; however, since people do not usually sleep at all times, this blessing is not recited during the day. In any event, women are obligated to recite this blessing before going to sleep.

Ask the Rabbi


ספר אביר הרועים - בית מידות
ספר אביר הרועים
לפרטים לחץ כאן

הלכה יומית מפי הראש"ל הגאון רבי יצחק יוסף שליט"א

דין ברכת שפטרנו מעונשו של זה
לחץ כאן לצפייה בשיעורים נוספים

Recent Halachot

"תנא דבי אליהו כל השונה הלכות בכל יום מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא"

נדה ע"ג א'

8 Halachot Most Popular

Eating and Washing One’s Self Yom Kippur

Some Laws of Yom Kippur All are obligated to fast on Yom Kippur, including pregnant and nursing women. Any woman whose health is at risk due to the fast should consult a prominent Torah scholar who is well-versed in these laws and he should render his ruling whether or not she must fast. One whose ......

Read Halacha

Motza’ei Yom Kippur

Adding From the Mundane Onto the Holiness One must add some of the mundane weekday onto the holiness of Yom Kippur upon its exit, i.e. one should not end this holy day immediately with nightfall; rather, one should wait another few minutes. Thus, it is prohibited to eat or perform work on Motza&rsq......

Read Halacha

The Obligation to Eat in the Sukkah

Since there is not so much time left to discuss the laws of Sukkot, let us now spend the next few Halachot discussing some pertinent Halachot for the upcoming Sukkot holiday. A Meal of an Established Character Throughout the entire Sukkot holiday, both during the night and day, it is prohibited ......

Read Halacha

Reciting Selichot Alone, Without a Minyan

Question: If one is unable to recite Selichot with a Minyan (quorum of at least ten Jewish men) for whatever reason or if a woman wishes to recite Selichot and she cannot do so with a Minyan, may one recite the Selichot texts alone or should one abstain from doing so? Answer: If one wishes to rec......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Eating a Kezayit of Bread in the Sukkah on the First Night of Sukkot and One who is Uncomfortable in the Sukkah

In the previous Halacha we have discussed that one may not eat an established meal outside of the Sukkah anytime during the Sukkot holiday. One must be aware that the reward for the Mitzvah of Sukkah is that it protects one during turbulent times (see Zohar, Parashat Tetzaveh). The Mitzvah of......

Read Halacha

The Custom of “Tashlich”

Following Mincha services of the first day of Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to go to a seashore, river, well, or pit in order to recite the order of “Tashlich.” If there is no river, lake, or pond in close proximity of one’s vicinity, it is likewise perfectly acceptable to recite ......

Read Halacha

The Proper Behavior for the Days of Rosh Hashanah-The Custom of Maran zt”l

It is customary to eat red meat and sweet foods on the days of Rosh Hashanah, as the verse in Nechemia states, “Go eat fatty foods and drink sweet beverages and sent gifts of food to those who do not have, for the day is sanctified to our Lord.” One may not fast at all on Rosh Hashana......

Read Halacha

Blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah

It is a positive Torah commandment to hear the Shofar blasts on the day of Rosh Hashanah, as the verse states, “It shall be a day of [Shofar] blasts for you.” One may not speak between the various sets of Shofar blasts and certainly not during the blasts themselves. The Poskim disagree r......

Read Halacha