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Every year, when I stay up learning Torah through the first night of Shavu'ot, I invariably fall asleep during the subsequent morning prayers. Last year, I tried something new: Learn all night, but when the sun rises, instead of staying to pray with the sunrise service, go home and sleep until the later service and pray then. I was thus able to stay awake through the entire service.

I am certain that my new schedule is Halachically superior for me. Sleeping through parts of the prayer service is certainly worth avoiding, regardless of the impact on observance of a tradition of relatively recent vintage.

However, I'm curious about whether there is, in fact, any impact in this plan on my observance of the tradition. Have I fulfilled the tradition by learning all night, or is my performance of this practice missing something because I go to sleep as soon as morning comes?

The whole point of the practice is because the Israelites apparently got up late for their morning appointment to receive the Torah. If I'm actually heading to bed at the time of that appointment, have I defeated the traditional purpose of staying up?

  • Going to sleep after the time for Shacharit has arrived (or within half an hour thereof) might be problematic, just like eating then. – Double AA Jan 25 '17 at 23:47
  • @DoubleAA good point. Answer? This issue can (and presumably should) be addressed by appointing a human alarm clock, right? – Isaac Moses Jan 25 '17 at 23:59
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When we stay up all night, it isn't intended to replace that which the Israelites shoud have done. They weren't expected to be up all night - they should have simply woken up early. If so, all we'd need to do Shavuos morning, then, is to wake up early.

Rather, it seems to me, the tradition of staying up all night is intended as a form of atonement for the ancient negligence that morning. We stay up and learn all night, thereby showing how important and fulfilling Torah study is for us. This makes up for the perceived slight to the Torah from long ago.

Therefore I would argue that your behavior is both Halachically sound and also very much in line with the tradition.

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That is the Minhag Lechatchila in all Chabad shuls (including 770)

  • And it is at 10:00 AM davka for that reason – Joe Shmoe Oct 12 '10 at 3:59
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    @JoeShmoe Chabad and most Chassidim daven at 10AM because they have been up since 7:30AM preparing for davening by learning Chassidus. The reason we sleep is to fulfill both the minhag of learning Torah all night and the halacha of davening properly and hearing kriyas HaTorah. – user1292 Mar 7 '12 at 21:53
  • @mochinrechavim So wait, when do they learn chassidus far'n davenen on Shavuos? – HodofHod May 16 '12 at 20:55
  • @HodofHod On a regular Shabbos you have not been staying up learning Chassidus and reading the Tikkun for Shavuos. On Shavous its assumed that such learning will replace the Chassidus you learn before davening. If you want to be machmir and be a super Chassid then wake up so you can learn Chassidus 30 minutes before davening because you already went to the mikveh before you went to sleep. – user1292 May 16 '12 at 21:00
  • @mochinrechavim IRC, you still go to mikva a second time – Shmuel Brin May 30 '12 at 19:06
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That is the Minhag also in Bobov and Sanz.

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    I always knew I must be part chassid. – Isaac Moses Oct 11 '10 at 19:45

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