Halacha for Thursday 2 Sivan 5781 May 13 2021

Blessings of Enjoyment and Keri’at Shema on the Night of Shavuot

In the previous Halacha, we have discussed the order of learning for the night of Shavuot during which it is customary to remain awake all night and study Torah.

Reading the Order of the “Keri’eh Mo’ed
Let us first discuss that which we have mentioned that it is proper to read the order of learning for the night of Shavuot which is printed in the Sefer Keri’eh Mo’ed.

Although this is indeed the custom of Sephardic Jewry based on the writing of the Mekubalim, nevertheless, those who customarily learn the Rambam’s Sefer Ha’Mitzvot or listen to Torah lectures on this night have on whom to rely. This is especially true if the rabbis in a specific place feel that such a learning schedule is more beneficial for the congregation, for instance, if the learning is being held in a location where most of the audience is not particularly religious in which case it is important to draw them closer with pleasant words of Torah as opposed to merely reading the order of Shavuot which may not be so constructive for them.

Maran zt”l writes (in his Chazon Ovadia-Yom Tov, page 311) that many great Ashkenazi luminaries, among them Hagaon Harav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook zt”l customarily learned the Rambam’s Sefer Ha’Mitzvot on the night of Shavuot. Similarly, in the synagogue of Maran zt”l, he customarily publicly expounds some Midrashim of our Sages as well as some pertinent Halachot (in addition to reading the order of Shavuot). Nevertheless, in a place where the congregation is reading from the Sefer Keri’eh Mo’ed, it is improper to deviate from the congregation’s custom and one should indeed read along with them as per the custom of the Mekubalim.

Blessings on Food and Drink on the Night of Shavuot
Those who delve in Torah all night and are occasionally served tea, coffee, and the like, they must recite a blessing before the first time they drink and then they no longer repeat the blessing every other time. Even if there is a pause of an hour and a quarter between each drinking, one should not recite the blessing again, for one has fulfilled his obligation with the blessing one has recited the first time.

It is preferable though that one have specific intention the first time one blesses that this blessing should exempt any other item brought before him.

However, if one leaves the synagogue and goes outside and when he returns one is served beverages once again, one must recite another blessing, for leaving the synagogue constitutes an interruption and one is no longer exempted by one’s original blessing (See Chazon Ovadia ibid.).

Keri’at Shema
One should recite Keri’at Shema before halachic midnight on the night of Shavuot as is customary in all synagogues. (ibid.)

The Morning Blessings (Birkot Ha’Shachar) and the Blessings on the Torah
One should only recite the morning blessings after dawn (the time for which is printed in various calendars). Even one who has not slept all night may recite the Blessings on the Torah after dawn. Besides for reciting the Blessings of the Torah, one should recite all of the Morning Blessings, including “Elohai Neshama,” besides for the blessing of “Al Netilat Yadayim,” for one who has not slept at night washes one’s hands in the morning without reciting this blessing. (Regarding the “Asher Yatzar” blessing, only one who has used the facilities should recite this blessing as is the case during the rest of the year.)

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