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I have seen a very good article (possibly by Slifkin) that explains that in the days before candles became cheap and people's sleep cycles were defined by dusk and dawn, it was quite normal to wake up in the middle of the night and tikkun chatzos was less "out of the way". I am still trying to find that article, but I have found a similar article that ...


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Rabbi Yissochor Frand qoutes Harav Isser Zalman Meltzer in regards to davening vasikin (which halachically is more significant) that mainstream judiasm has stopped emphasizing vasikin because it leaves people too tired to learn well the rest of the day.



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