Monday, September 24, 2007

bracha on sleeping in sukkah

When I wrote the previous post before Y”K I had not yet seen the Shem m’Shmuel who addresses himself to the problem of ta’aroves tov/ra and writes that on Y”K one can experience perfect clarity of birur if one only immerses in the kedushas hayom and takes advantage of it. The simcha that is felt at the conclusion of the chag (Tosfos quotes from Midrash that there is a din of having a seudah to celebrate the conclusion of Y”K) is directly proportional to the degree that we open our heart to this experience of tahara. However, that feeling only lasts if we protect it and do not let it dissipate, and here the Shem m’Shmuel is mechadesh that not only can the physical construction of a sukkah serve to nurture that feeling within the protective symbolic walls of kedusha, but involvement in learning Mes. Sukkah and the laws of sukkah also serves the same function.

I mentioned receiving Kisvei Mahart”z Chiyus as a gift from someone before R”H and noticed a beautiful kashe he raises in a footnote. The Rosh writes that the reason a bracha is not recited over sleeping in the sukkah is because there is always the chance that one will not be able to fall asleep, rendering the bracha l’vatalah. By the same logic, asks the M.C., how can we say a bracha of hamapil – why is there no concern that one will recite the bracha and not be able to fall asleep? I’m not sure why he leaves this as a tzarich iyun – I will leave it to the comments for suggestions of chilukim that are possible.


  1. Anonymous12:49 PM

    The most obvious one is that Hamapil is a Bracha of Hodayah, not a birchat hamitzvah, but I am sure the Marit"z Chayes would have thought of that and rejected it for some reason. By the way, although I don't know the reason for it, R. Y. Halberstam, in reporting a discussion between one of his daughters and a teacher, once told me that in Chassidic families the custom is not to say birchat Hamapil.

  2. What does sleeping have to do with yeshiva ba-sukkah? Based on a strict definition, shouldn't one have to make a bracha when one spends any time whatsoever in the sukkah - eating, sleeping, or anything else? (I've heard the fact that we don't referred to as "minhag olam", without any further reasoning).

  3. Anonymous4:43 PM

    Sleeping is actually the ikkar mitzvah (see Aruch hashulchan)

  4. The simple answer is if you just go in to sleep. If you don't fall asleep, you will go out.

    Anyway, Mike S., even if hoda'ah, if you don't fall asleep, what are you giving hoda'ah on? I'm surprised the Kisvei MhRTz Chiyus doesn;t say it, but in the chiddushim he takes a similar approach to what you suggest and writes that the bracha is on minhago shel olam, so even if you don't fall asleep hamapil is not levatalah. (this gets into nitty gritty of whether you can have a hefsek between hamapil and sleeping and other issues).

    Perhaps you can distinguish hamapil as being a bracha on the attempt to fall asleep, while sukkah requires an actual kiyum mitzvah, not just an attempted kiyum mitzvah.

  5. Anonymous12:36 PM

    But a bracha of hodaya doesn't have to be over l'asiyato, so I should not care if it takes some time to fall asleep.

    On the other hand, it just occurred to me that if I lie down and rest in the sukkah I am fulfilling the mitzvah of yeshivah in the sukkah even it I don't sleep, am I not? So what sense does the Rosh's explanation make? Teishvu kein tadoroo and I lie down at home without falling asleep sometimes, do I not?

  6. Re: your last point - I was wondering the same thing.

    RE: the first point - what if you don't fall asleep at all?

  7. re: your first point and mike's last point: i lie down many places and don't fall asleep.. not only at home.

    re: your last point and mike's first point: eventually you will fall asleep, even if it is days later. if it doesn't have to be over l'asiyaton what difference does the time discrepancy make?

    lastly, sephardim say it but without shem & malchut, probably to avoid the safek berachah