02. Ha-mapil

 

Some are concerned that after reciting Ha-mapil they will not fall asleep, rendering it a berakha le-vatala. However, the fact that the Sages instituted Ha-mapil means that they were not concerned about this. Ha-mapil is a berakha thanking God for sleep, and even if one does not manage to fall asleep, the expression of thanks is not made in vain (Ĥayei Adam 35:4). Still, the Sages instituted this recitation for those who intend to sleep, and therefore one who does not plan sleeping on a given night does not recite Ha-mapil. 1

Ha-mapil is not recited on daytime sleep, although some recommend reciting Vi-yhi No’am before taking a daytime nap (MB 239:8 and BHL s.v. “Samukh”). Ha-mapil is also not recited on temporary sleep at night. However, sleeping in one’s bed for at least half an hour is considered regular sleep (Eshel Avraham §239; Beit Barukh 35:10).

One who went to sleep at night after reciting Ha-mapil, later rose to handle certain matters, and then went back to sleep does not repeat Ha-mapil, since it is only recited once a night (Beit Barukh 35:9.

One who fell asleep without reciting Ha-mapil and woke up in the middle of the night with the intention of falling back asleep recites the berakha before going back to sleep. She must rub her hands on her blanket before reciting it in case her hands touched the normally covered parts of her body (SA 4:23; MB 61; unlike Piskei Teshuvot 239:1 which states that netilat yadayim is required).

Some infer, based on Arizal’s mystical teachings, that only one who goes to sleep before ĥatzot recites Ha-mapil. Hence, many Sephardim recite Ha-mapil without God’s name when going to sleep after midnight (Kaf Ha-ĥayim 239:8; see Yeĥaveh Da’at vol. 4:70). However, according to practice of Ashkenazim and some Sephardim, one recites Ha-mapil as long as she goes to sleep before dawn.

  1. According to Ben Ish Ĥai, Pekudei (Year 1) 12, Ha-mapil is not recited with God’s Name (Shem U-malkhut), lest the one saying it interrupt by talking or does not fall asleep. Nonetheless, according to most poskim, it is recited with God’s name because talking does not render the berakha invalid, and there is no need to be concerned that the person reciting it will not fall asleep.
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