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Staying Up On Shavuot Night

Updated: May 15, 2023

The Daily Halacha Moment - Staying Up on Shavuot Night 📙 😴


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן ‎העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

Why do we stay up on Shavuot night?


Answer:

It is customary to remain awake all night and learn Torah. This custom has its origins in early sources, such as the Zohar, which states that anyone who stays awake on the night of Shavuot and learns the tikkun with joy is written in the Sefer HaZichronot and is blessed with seventy blessings and crowns in Heaven. [1]

The Shaar HaKavanot states that one who does not sleep even for a moment during the night of Shavuot and only learns Torah is assured that he will not come to harm, or even die, that year. [2]


In order to demonstrate the great pleasure Hashem receives when we spend the entire night of Shavuot engrossed on Torah study, the Shlah in Sefer Shene Luchot Haberit (Masechet Shavuot, Perek Ner Mitzvah no. 5 s.v. velehorot) and the sefer Chemdat Yamim (57d) recorded the episode of Maran HaRav Yosef Karo who, while still living in Turkey, arranged with his colleagues and disciples to spend the night of Shavuot studying Torah together. While they were studying mishnayot, they suddenly heard the overwhelming voice of an angel speaking through the mouth of Maran. The angel praised them immensely for the rectification they had accomplished through their studies and told them of the immense pleasure it had brought to Hashem. This account as follows was written by eyewitness Rav Shelomo Alkabetz (author of Lecha Dodi).


It’s good to note, the custom of staying up Shavuot night applies to men and not women. However; it is praiseworthy for women to go to Torah classes or read tehilim. [3]


Adapted From R' Yonatan Nacsons "Laws Of The Holidays"

Sources:

[1]. Zohar, Emor, p. 88. See also Pirkei D’Rabi Eliezer, ch. 41 and Shir HaShirim Rabbah 1:56, which explain that the reason for this custom is to atone for sleeping late on the morning of mattan Torah. This custom is brought in the Magen Avraham, in the introduction to siman 494, where it says that most scholars have a custom to stay awake and learn throughout the night. See also Birkei Yosef §4, which says that this custom has become widespread throughout most of the Jewish nation. See also Seder HaYom, Seder Chag HaShavuot; Eliyah Rabbah §3; Shulchan Aruch HaRav §3; Mishnah Berurah §1; Kaf HaChaim §6; Moed LeChol Chai 8:15; Lev Chaim, Responsa, 2:180; Chazon Ovadia, Yom Tov, p. 310; and Moadim U’Zemanim 4:315.

[2]. Shaar HaKavanot, Derush Shavuot, 1. See Kaf HaChaim §11.

[3]. Shut Rav Pealim 1:9 in Sod Yesharim.


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