August 24, 2008

Sefer Yom LYom- Daily spiritual practices #3

Filed under: Blog Torah,Daily Concepts,Sefer Yom Lyom,Website Kvetching — Reb Moshe @ 11:31 pm

Chatzos, Midnight
(written by Rabbi Akiva’s grave)
1. The first few minutes of chatzos as the most beneficial
2. Before reciting the Tikkun, praise Hashem (through your own words or from Psalms 145-150) and be joyous in the holiness of this hour.
3. Even the mere thought of the Shechinah and Bais Hamikdosh at this hour is very great.
4. A person can be attached to the Shechinah after Chatzos more then any other hour. Even great is this attachment when with a minyon of people in study and prayer.
5. Keep your avodah at this time as private as possible between you and Hashem.
6. One can accomplish great things in the mikvah at this hour, more then during the day.
7. Every moment at this hour is more precious then pearls. Do not waist even a moment. Go to and from like a person in charge of a top secret important assignment.
(Continued at Rav chaim Luzatos grave)
8. It is benificial to go to a holy place and pray. If one goes lishmah, for the sake of Heaven, all the gates will open before him.
9. It is very important when spiritually prepared, to learn Zohar Friday night after Chatzos. This is the way of the Sages.
10. Be warned, if you do not sanctify yourself at this holy hour yet remain awake to be wasteful of time, swarms of impurities will look to draw from your spirit. Contra-wise, if you purity yourself, you could walk through fire that is how strong your soul can become at this time.
11. One can measure their level of fear of Hashem by going out in the night. (if safe in your area)
12. Talk to Hashem now in hisbodidus and you will not leave unanswered.
13. Even mundain activities and chores are elevated at this hour.
14. Being up for Chatzos and then going to sleep before naitz is like preparing a gormet meal and then leaving it out to spoil.
15. To little sleep and too much sleep leads a person to sin unless it is done for the sake of Heaven.
16. If you say Tikkun Rochel and Leah, even abridged, your study afterwards will be lishmah.
17. Cry out at this time for your lack of knowledge and poor study habits.
18. Hashem & the Righteous are listening to your study and prayer at this hour. This means that you are spiritually surrounded by their holiness. Those who are wise know how to connect themselves to this holiness and benefit from it in all ways.


  1. Which Chatzos? According to my “litvish” poskim, chatzos is halfway between shkiah (sunset) and neitz (sunrise). Of course, it varies from day to day, but roughly around 12 midnight standard time or 1am daylight savings time.
    Rabbi Chaim Kramer of the Breslov Research Institute, quotes in one of his books that Rebbe Nachman calculated chatzos as six hours after tzais hakochavim (nightfall).

    This means that in the summer, “chatzos” may not be until 3am, and in some parts of the world there won’t be a chatzos at all!

    So then my question is, if I follow the first set of poskim for everything else, and I keep to “litvish” zmanim for davening (i.e. no minchah after shkiah), can I use their defintion of “chatzos”? Or, since this is all brought down al pi chassidus and kabbalah, must I use Rebbe Nachman’s zmanim for this?

    Comment by Adam — August 26, 2008 @ 3:27 am

  2. The calculation of six hours after the stars is from the Zohar (3,195b) and the Magen Avraham. This debate originates in Gemarah Brachos 3b when it speaks whether Moshe and King David knew the exact time of Chatzos. I belive all chassidim & most Kabbalists hold by the 6 hour mark. You definately have basis al pe halacha to go with the 12 hour opinion so if you choose too, that is fine. But it makes more sence to go by the 6 hour mark and I personally wouldn’t think twice to do different since most of the teachings of rising at chatzos are spoken about in Kabbalah, especially the Zohar. Though in Halacha, Rav Yosef Karo brings it down in the first page of Or HaChaim. Its pratice is not usually mentioned in Litvish circles today. Some Rabbis even shun it if there are unlearned in Kabbalah. One of my editors quit after their litvish Rabbi told them that i was wrong for teaching about chatzos. They said that it was unneccesary today and that nobody does it. He was a known litvish posek who wrote sefarim. I had wanted to fight him on this but I decided to let it go. As much as he was a good posek, he was obviously not learned in Kabbalah or connected in this way. Not to mention that the great Litvish Rabbi, Rabbi Lopian and others were very machpid to arise at chatzos. They considered it a binding halacha for anyone pious. As Rabbi Lopain said, “What would I do if in Heaven they begin to ask me if I followed the Shulchan Oruch, Code of Jewish law and they catch me on the first page where it says to arise at chatzos?”.

    As you mentioned, in a practical sence, holding by the 12 hour mark makes its recital more practical. I think I remember back in america that during one month chatzos according to the 6 hour shita leaves you only about 1 hour or less. If you wanted during this time to venture to the 12 hour shita, I think it might make sence. I think I remember switching over just temporarily otherwise during one summer month, there was no time to enjoy this holy activity but I certainly isn’t good to switch back and forth often. You can note that to a certain extent, even on our low madregos, time doesn’t exist. Chatzos is so spiritual that perhaps, one can connect to its root spiritually without staring at their clock. As Rav Schneir Zalman said, “The time of favor in Heaven is beyond the earthly space and time. Though in the lower worlds, it has an appropriate time at each location.” (Shulchan Oruch HaRav,Chochmas HaBoker 1:8) But if you do not exist…

    Comment by Reb Moshe — August 26, 2008 @ 4:21 am

  3. Reb Moshe, just wanted to correct the comment “Rav Yosef Karo brings it down in the first page of Or HaChaim.”

    The section of the Shulcahn Aruch you referred to is of course Orech Chayim, the way/path of life. The Ohr HaHayyim was written by Rav Hayyim Ben Atar, mekubal in Yerushalayim years later. (Contemporary of the Baal Shem Tov.)

    I know you know, but the typo could be confusing to others.

    Also, here, I don’t understand the halachic debate. Throwing around ‘six’ or ‘twelve hours’ is confusing.

    Are we talking about halachic hours (sha’ot zmaniyot) in both cases or only one of them?

    And aren’t halachic hours at night either from shkiah to netz or tzeit haKochavim to Alot haShachar?

    Comment by yitz.. — August 26, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

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