Saturday, October 12, 2019

leishev ba'sukkah on sleeping

The Rosh (Sukkah 4:3) asks why it is that we don't say a "leishev ba'sukkah" on sleeping in the sukkah.  Two answers: 1) If it should happen that you don't fall asleep the "leishav ba'sukkah" would be a bracha l'vatala, so we don't say it; 2) Rabeinu Tam argues that ke'va is defined as having a meal (everything we Jews do revolves around food); sleeping, learning, schmoozing and everything else you do in the sukkah are all tafeil to the seudah and are covered by the bracha of "leishev" done at the meal. 

A possible nafka mina: what if someone ate at a neighbor's house and came home to sleep in his own sukkah (or what if one had nothing to eat)?  According to the first answer, there would still be no requirement to say "leishev" before going to sleep.  However, one could argue that according to Rabeinu Tam the "leishev" on the keviyus in a different sukkah has no connection to your sukkah and a bracha would be required.  Aruch haShulachan even suggests that even though Rama paskens like Rabeinu Tam and we usually only recite a "leishev ba'sukkah" when we have a meal in the sukkah (GR"A disagrees), that is only the case when you are sitting in your own sukkah and all the other activities of the day are tafeil to the meal you ate there.  If you go to visit a friend and sit there for awhile, even if you have no meal, you would need to say a bracha there.

Be that as it may, a question to ponder: what's the difference between the bracha of "leishev" on sleeping, which we avoid lest one fail to doze off and it be a bracha l'vatala, and the bracha of "ha'mapil" that we recite every night before going to sleep?  Why are we not concerned lest a person fail to doze off and that bracha be a bracha l'vatala?

(If you are going to tell me ha'mapil is a birchas ha'shevach, pls be prepared to defend that assertion.  And please don't bother to tell me about Brisker shitos on not reciting ha'mapil -- I'm obviously asking according to Shulchan Aruch psak.)


  1. 1) the "leishav ba'sukkah" would be a bracha l'vatala

    sometimes one doesn't fall asleep when in his house-- if he lies [restlessly] in the temporary >in the same manner< as in the permanent, what l'vatala? he dwells...

    "2) Rabeinu Tam argues that...everything else...[is] tafael to the seudah"

    to mirror the mountaintop: sukkahs surround har ha'bayit*, where Hashem >dwells<. Hashem, Who neither slumbers nor sleeps. nor, in this case, does He talk or teach or shmooze**. what does He do? eats. and eats. olim on and on. and through His proxy the kohanim, maybe shares a shelamim with a sukkah dweller below...

    *in our day, har ha'bayit west is flanked by huge stone bulks, proudly built, and sturdily too, though Hashem hasn't so much as a hut to His Name atop the helpless hill nearby. {maybe one could be forgiven for thinking that the ongoing absence of the Mikdash, the absence of the indwelling Shechinah, should be what is most conspicuous in His city of choice? for it's one big fairground, J-Vil is, where nothing but water may be missed***; where even a golden menorah stands, a model of tznius, in the Old City Square}

    **the lishkat ha'gazit being out of session during the chag

    ***in certain ornamental pools, and some drinking fountains dry-- perhaps we will siphon solutions from the Temple's strengthening flow (Yechezkel 47:1>>)?

  2. Good kashe!

    Perhaps ha-mapil is at least partly a bracha (birchas ha-shevach) "on the world" going to sleep, not just that one individual who recites it? The chasima has that flavor, although most of the rest of the bracha is more personal. If so, that might be enough to save us from bracha-levatala concerns, at least b'dieved, if one winds up being unable to sleep.

    As a loose analogy, the Tur writes in his father's name that one who recites birchas ha-gomel for a friend's recovery is not a bracha le-vatala -- even though he isn't halachically obligated to make the bracha -- because he's expressing his own genunine gratitude for his friend's rescue. Here too, ha-mapil is "salvageable" at least as shevach for the world enjoying the gift of a safe night's sleep, even if the reciter himself winds up unable to fall asleep.

  3. Perhaps sleeping in a Suka is not a mitzva per se, since sleeping is an unintentional act. Its simply that we are not allowed to sleep outside the suka, מצד תשבו כעין תדודו

  4. ha'mapil l'vatala?

    it is as if a patient, sick with fatigue, invites a nightly Guest into his room, whose reassuring Presence usually grants him healing sleep.

    on any given night, following the welcome of his Guest, a problem bein adam l'Makom (Tehillim 132:4), or bein adam l'chaveiro (Mishlei 6:4), may trouble the weak one's conscience. the Visitor will need to remove to the hallway*; it goes according to the choleh. yet the Visitor is as ever credited with a mitzvah; the invitation/welcome** of the patient, was not in vain.

    *why must Hashem withdraw for a problem bein adam l'Makom? isn't the moment opportune for addressing any issue the two may have? though the choleh may find himself restless, he is in no condition to see his normally sedative Guest as a sudden challenge, but requires a temporary mechitzah between the creator of Raphael, and the creator of Gavriel

    **also Avraham's welcome, hardly futile, of Hashem at the entrance of his tent, and the immediate interruption of their pairing

  5. Birchas Leishev is a Bracha on the Maasa Mitzvas Sukkah. Birchas Hamapil is a Birchas Shevach/Hanehenin for the Hanaah of sleeping

  6. Also maybe we only make a Bracha on a Maasa Mitzva that is an action/ Kim vaaseh. Sleeping isn't a maaseh and is a shev Val taaseh