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Chapter 71:1-3
Behavior at Night

1. After the evening service, one should establish a fixed time for Torah study, to fulfill the instruction (Joshua 1:8):"And you shall mediate upon them day and night."

There is room for fear that if one eats first, he will be overcome by sleep, for he is tired and it is natural to want to rest. Thus, he will negate the study of Torah. Hence, it is proper to establish a fixed time for Torah study before eating. Even a person who is hungry and has little energy because he did not eat sufficiently during the day should taste only a little food in order to regain his mental alertness. Then he should study some, eat a full meal as he requires, and return to the study of Torah.

Each person should study according to his own powers of comprehension. [Eruvin 65a] teaches: "The nights were created only for the purpose of Torah study." In particular, this applies to the [long] winter nights. However, even in the short [summer] nights one should find some time for study at night to fulfill the instruction" "And you shall meditate upon them day and night."

From the fifteenth of Av onwards, one should add slightly [to one's torah study as the nights become longer].

Resh Lakish declared: Whoever studies Torah at night will have a chord of grace extended over him during the day, as [implied by Psalms 42:9]: "During the day, G-d will command His grace, and at night, His song is with me." Why does "G-d command His grace during the day"? because, "at night, His song [the Torah] is with me."

Others quote Resh Lakish as follows: Whoever studies Torah in this world - which can be compared to night - will have a chord of grace extended over him by the Holy One, blessed be He, in the world to come, which can be compared today, as [implied by the verse]: "During the day, G-d will command His grace, and at night, His song is with me" (Chaggigah 12b).

Surely, a person who has a fixed measure of Torah study that he usually completed during the day should compensate at night if he was forced to negate it during the day.

2. It is proper for an average healthy person to eat only a small meal at night, less than he eats during the day. There are three benefits to be reaped from such a practice: a)this protects one's health; b) it produces pleasant and settled dreams. A person who has eaten and drunk excessively often has strange and disturbing dreams; c) it will prevent one from sleeping too heavily and allow one to rise at the proper time.

Six hours of sleep are sufficient for a healthy person. A person should not sleep alone in a room, nor should one sleep in a place which is overly hot or overly cold.

3. It is proper for a person who fears G-d to examine all his actions of the previous day before he goes to sleep. Should he discover that he committed a sin, he should express his regret, confess, and wholeheartedly resolve not to commit the sin again. [When undertaking this personal introspection,] one should pay special attention to sins which are frequently committed - e.g., flattery, falsehood, mockery, and slander.

Also, a person should forgive any colleague who wronged him, so that on other person will be punished because of him. The Gemara [Shabbos 149a] teaches: "A person on whose account a colleague is punished is not allowed into the domain of the Holy one, blessed be He."

One should repeat three times: " I release all those ho caused me distress." Afterwards, one should recite the prayer: Ribono shel olom, hareini mochel... (Master of the world, behold, I forgive...).

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Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 2000 ProjectGenesis, Inc.

 

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