07 – One Who Was Awake All Night

According to the Rosh and most of the Rishonim, one who was awake all night, as on Shavuot night, may not recite Birkot HaTorah before Shacharit, because as long as he did not interrupt by sleeping, the previous day’s Birkot HaTorah still apply. That is how many eminent Acharonim rule (Pri Chadash, Gra, Chayei Adam). According to Rabbeinu Tam, however, he must recite Birkot HaTorah before Shacharit. Since Birkot HaTorah are intended to last for a 24-hour period, even if he did not sleep at all during that whole day, when the time arrives to recite Shacharit the next day, he must recite Birkot HaTorah again. That is what is said in the name of the Arizal, and that is the minhag of the Sephardim (Birkei Yosef 46:12; Ben Ish Chai, Berachah 3; Kaf HaChaim 47:26).

In order to avoid uncertainty, it is preferable that someone who did not sleep at night hear someone else recite Birkot HaTorah, thereby fulfilling his obligation according to all opinions.

If he cannot find someone who needs to recite Birkot HaTorah, according to the minhag of the Sephardim and some of the Ashkenazim, he should recite Birkot HaTorah himself. According to the minhag of the majority of Ashkenazim, he should have kavanah to fulfill the obligation of Birkot HaTorah in Ahavah Rabbah before Shema (Mishnah Berurah 47:28), for we have already learned (in halachah 2) that this berachah is considered like Birkot HaTorah. After praying he must learn a verse of scripture or a Mishnah in order to adjoin his learning to the berachah.[8]

Regarding that same person who stayed awake all night, if he slept a regular sleep during the day prior to that, according to all opinions he must recite Birkot HaTorah before reciting Shacharit.[9] (See earlier in this book 9:6 for a summary of the laws concerning one who was awake all night.)


[8]This is the Sephardic minhag, based on Rabbeinu Tam. One who was awake all night must be careful not to recite Birkot HaTorah before amud hashachar. Shut HaElef Lecha Shlomo 33 writes that if he recited them before amud hashachar his berachah is in vain and it must be repeated after amud hashachar. That is also what is written in Kaf Hachaim 47:29. The Tzlach in Berachot 11b is uncertain of this, and therefore the Yalkut Yosef 47:9 writes that if he recites the berachah before amud hashachar, he should have kavanah to fulfill his obligation in Ahavat Olam. (According to the Ben Ish Chai, those who are awake all night should recite Birkot HaShachar immediately after chatzot and only delay the recital of Birkot HaTorah until after amud hashachar.)Concerning the Ashkenazic custom, the Mishnah Berurah writes that if one is not in the vicinity of someone whom he can hear recite Birkot HaTorah, he can have kavanah to fulfill his obligation in Ahavah Rabbah. That is based on the Chayei Adam in the name of Pri Chadash and the Gra. It is also the prevalent minhag. However, according to the Magen Avraham, Derech HaChaim, Eliyah Rabbah, and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 7, he should recite the blessings himself. That is what is written in Olat Ra’ayah p. 59, as well. The reason for this is because the obligation to recite the berachot is biblical and sefeika d’oriata l’chumra, (when there is doubt concerning biblical obligations, we are stringent). Obviously, one who wishes to rely on them is permitted to do so.

[9]. So writes Mishnah Berurah 47:28, according to Rabbi Akiva Eiger, that in this case, all poskim agree that one must recite Birkot HaTorah. According to the Rosh, this is because after a regular sleep during the day he is obligated to recite the berachot, and according to Rabbeinu Tam, because the new day has arrived.

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Translated By:
Series Editor: Rabbi Elli Fischer

The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman