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Unread 12-24-2004, 01:35 AM   #101
hubdirenbud
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Re: Nittel nacht

smiley good question
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Unread 12-24-2004, 09:16 AM   #102
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Re: Nittel nacht

it may go by the goyshe date but the jewish times are used in the day???
i dunno....
can u say tehillim during these non-torah-studying hours??

i wish you all a safe passage through nittel
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Unread 12-24-2004, 09:28 AM   #103
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Re: Nittel nacht

The following article appeared in today's (Friday) Haaretz newspaper:

By Shahar Ilan

******mas Eve is one of the few occasions when Hasidim refrain from Torah study, do not conduct weddings or go to the mikveh. But they do play chess and work on their bills

On ******mas Eve, known in Jewish circles as Nitel Night, the klipot (shells) are in total control. The klipot are parasitical evil forces that attach themselves to the forces of good. According to kabbala (Jewish mysticism), on the night on which "that man" - a Jewish euphemism for J**** - was born, not even a trace of holiness is present and the klipot exploit every act of holiness for their own purposes.

For this reason, Nitel Night, from nightfall to midnight, is one of the few occasions when Hasidim refrain from Torah study. On this horrific night, they neither conduct weddings nor do they go to the mikveh (ritual bath). An entire folkloric literature has developed around the unusual recreational activities of Nitel Night. The customs, it should be emphasized, are practiced only by Hasidim. Lithuanian and Sephardic ultra-Orthodox Jews do not suspend their regular Torah study on ******mas Eve.

Chess and cards

The classic pastime on Nitel Night is chess. There is the famous photograph of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe, the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, apparently playing chess with his father on Nitel Night, although calendar calculations by Lubavitcher Hasidim rule out the idea that the photograph was taken on Nitel. Some prefer cards, such as Uka, a Galician Jewish version of poker, or 21. Some argue that each card has its own klipa (shell) and thus card-playing on Nitel Night is a particularly serious sin.

Kabbalistic toilet paper

The Knesset correspondent of the ultra-Orthodox newspaper Hamodia, Zvi Rosen, relates that celebrated Hasidic admorim (sect leaders) would cut a year's supply of toilet paper for Sabbath use (to avoid tearing toilet paper on Sabbath) on this night. Actually, this disrespectful act has profound kabbalistic significance, because kabbalistic literature extensively discusses ******ianity as waste material excreted from the body of the Jewish people. Today, precut toilet paper for Sabbath use is available on the market; thus, the custom's relevance has diminished.

Another custom of Hasidic admorim is to make calculations on Nitel for the entire year, such as the amount they must set aside to observe the commandment of tithe-giving. Rabbi Hannah of Kalschitz reportedly would study geography on Nitel. The journalist Rosen spends Nitel night arranging his archive, peeling oranges and making marmalade. The Lubavitcher (Chabad) movement's spokesman, Menachem Brod, arranges his pile of bills.

Abstaining from procreation

As was the case in 2000, ******mas Eve or Nitel Night this year falls on Friday night, and this fact has several significant ramifications. Because of this, certain acts that are desecrations of the Sabbath cannot be performed, such as cutting toilet paper or straightening out paperwork. Nor can one sleep throughout the entire ******mas Eve because of the obligation of eating the Friday night meal, although it is customary not to talk about sacred matters at the table when ******mas Eve falls on Friday night.

However, the biggest paradox concerns the procreation mitzvah (commandment). It is recommended that the commandment be observed on Friday night, which is a holy time. Yet on Nitel Night, which has no holiness, it is customary to refrain from observing the commandment, because of the fear that a Jewish child conceived on J****' birthday could become an apostate.

A whispered prayer

Abraham Isaac Sperling's "Reasons for Jewish Customs and Traditions (Bloch Publishing Company, 1968) explains that one chief reason for the development of Nitel customs was practical: Anti-Semites would ambush Jews and savagely beat them, sometimes even killing them, in the streets on ******mas Eve. Thus, the rabbis decreed that Jews should remain at home that night and not wander in the streets.

Over the years, abstention from Torah study on ******mas Eve became a custom that, of course, was observed clandestinely. There are tales, however, that describe cases where gentiles, discovering that Jews were playing games instead of studying Torah that night, would burst into Jewish homes, only to discover the young students engaged in the discussion of Jewish law over open books.

One Nitel custom in the Diaspora was to recite the entire "Aleinu Leshabe'ah" prayer out loud. The prayer includes the phrase "those who bow down before vapor and emptiness," customarily uttered in a whisper throughout the year, so that gentiles would not hear the words. On Nitel Night, it was customary, after it had been ascertained that no non-Jews were around, to loudly utter the forbidden phrase.

Ban on Torah study

The source of the name "Nitel" is unknown. The most successful, although perhaps not the most convincing, explanation is that Nitel is an acronym for the Yiddish words "nischt yidden tarren lernen": "It is forbidden for Jews to study." Another explanation is that the term is a corruption of the Latin word for birthday, natalis.

Over the years, a collection of Nitel jokes has developed. For example, an ultra-Orthodox rabbi was once asked to eulogize Theodor Herzl, founder of modern Zionism and a secular Jew. After a few moments, he came up with three positive traits: Herzl had never spoken while putting on his phylacteries, had never thought about Torah matters in unclean places and had never studied Torah on Nitel. Or, for example, a young Jewish boy was found studying Torah on Nitel. Asked why he was not observing the ban on such study on Nitel, he replied that he observed the ban on the Armenian ******mas Eve.

The second joke points to a real problem. Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate ******mas Eve on the night of December 24. ******mas on the Greek and Russian Orthodox calendars falls on January 6. On which day should Torah study be prohibited? The late Lubavitcher Rebbe proposed that Nitel be observed on the ******mas Eve celebrated by the majority of ******ians in that particular country. In the United States, he ruled that Torah study should be banned on the night of December 24, when most ******ian Americans celebrate ******mas Eve. Some Hasidic sect leaders and members have refrained from Torah study on both ******mas Eves, and the most meticulous of them even suspended Torah study on New Year's Eve as well.

Slumber of the righteous

One of the early Lubavitcher leaders told his disciples that he disliked those scholars who argued that they could not suspend Torah study for even a few hours and that they therefore had to study Torah even on ******mas Eve. The Saintly Genius of Liska reportedly wanted to study Torah on a Nitel night. However, he fell into a deep sleep and his candle went out. When he awoke, he realized that divine intervention had kept him from carrying out his original purpose.

In an article on Nitel published in the Torah monthly, Moriah, Rabbi Yosef Lieberman offers a solution to circumvent the ban on Torah study: go to bed at nightfall and get up at midnight to study Torah, when such study becomes permissible. An expert on Hasidism, Rabbi Benzion Grossman relates that in the yeshivas of the Vishnitz Hasidim, the students would go to sleep in the afternoon prior to ******mas Eve and would get up at night to make up for the study hours they had missed. However, the Saintly Genius Rabbi Shalom of Kaminka would refrain from sleeping on Nitel, arguing that he always dreamed about Torah matters.

Some people maintain that the Nitel customs need not be observed in Israel, because of the Holy Land's sacredness. Rabbi Mordechai of Slonim ruled that, in the Holy Land, the klipot had no power - not even in Jerusalem, the site of many synagogues. Nonetheless, Hasidic sect leaders who came to the Holy Land continued the Nitel custom, and their disciples followed their example. In contrast, Lithuanian and Sephardic ultra-Orthodox Jews do not observe Nitel at all. "The Hasidim will look for any excuse not to study Torah," quipped one Lithuanian Jewish cynic.
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Unread 12-24-2006, 01:51 AM   #104
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timely
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Unread 12-24-2007, 03:14 PM   #105
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Light Reminder

Quote:
The Ha'Yom Yom of 17 Teves says that we don't learn on nittel nacht (Dec. 24 at night,C. eve), in order not to increase chayus-vitality [to kelipa].
Just a reminder that tonight, ohr l'16 Teves 5768 is Dec 24--nitel.

Time to get the shachmat out
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Unread 12-24-2007, 06:55 PM   #106
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Post Details Of Nitel

From the publication "Call To Action" (ichosid.org)

Quote:
Nitel Nacht
The Jewish way to pass the Eve of Dec 25th

BRIEF HISTORY AND INTRODUCTION
December 25th is universally celebrated by non-Jews as the birthday of the person upon whom a dominant non-Jewish religion was founded; a person who unfortunately also carried the Halachic status of a Jew who lures other Jews to avodah zarah. For that reason, a spirit of tumah prevails on that night.

Additionally, there was a lengthy period in history when it was common for members of that religion to celebrate the eve of Dec 25th by attacking Jews; this led to a Rabbinic decision against keeping the Yeshivas open on the eve of Dec 25th.

In the words of the Previous Rebbe, It is our custom to refrain from studying Torah on Nitel Nacht1 until midnight. The reason for this restriction as heard from his father, the Rebbe Rashab is in order not to add spiritual vitality to the forces of tumah. In other words, we do not wish to add spiritual vitality to that person [the one whose birth they celebrate] nor to those who presently follow his views.2

Hayom Yom (entry for Teves 17) quotes the Rebbe Rashab as saying, I am not fond of those students who begrudge these eight hours and cannot tear themselves away from Torah study

FOLLOW THE CURRENT NON-JEWISH CALENDAR
Nowadays, the timing of Nitel Nacht follows the non-Jewish calendar that is used in America and most other countries (including Russia, who used to follow a different calendar), i.e., the 25th of December.3

REBBES GAME OF CHESS
The Rebbe Rashab would spend Nitel Nacht playing chess or providing advice for those playing the game.

The reason4 behind this practice is that even the very lowliest time on the calendar, which cannot be refined in a direct manner via Torah study, should at least be utilized and thereby elevated by engaging in a gainful pursuit, such as a game which clearly sharpens ones mind.2

DONT SQUANDER YOUR TIME
The Rebbe Rashabs custom provides us with an instruction:

We should not squander the time of Nitel Nacht by doing nothing at all, G-d Forbid; rather we should spend it in a gainful manner (particularly in a manner that increases wisdom5) or to perform acts of Tzedakah and kindness or even by simply taking care of the house and so forth.6

VIEW IMAGES OF THE REBBE
We could also utilize the time to picture the image of the Rebbe Rashab in our minds, either through personal memories or based on a picture that is presently available.7

The very image of his holy countenance is enough to inspire love and awe of Heaven and the like, in accordance with the manner in which he conducted himself. This will encourage us to follow his ways and implement his instructions.2

1. What does Nitel mean?
The word Nitel () is an allusion to a lack. Others say that the word comes from , meaning suspended. In Latin, natal means born; in this context it refers to the time of birth. (Letter dated 9th Kislev 5735, printed in Likutei Sichos Vol.15, p.554)

2. Letter dated 9th Kislev 5735, printed in Likutei Sichos Vol.15, p.554 and Parshas Vayeishev 5750, footnote 63; Hisvaaduyos p.49-50.

3. Unlike the Russian Calendar that existed prior to the Revolution. (ibid,
footnote 63) [December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, comes in the Julian
calendar on January 7.]

4. The lack is not ours
The Previous Rebbe once recounted how his father (the Rebbe Rashab) would play chess on that night This was the Rebbe Rashabs way of providing a lesson and directive that even during a time which apparently can only be used to guard oneself from evil, a lack [as opposed to actively doing good via Torah and Mitzvos], nevertheless, this very lowest point in time should at least be utilized, etc. [see main text above for continuation] (ibid, page 50)

5. Three winning reasons
When one does so with the above intentions in mind. (ibid.)
(1) The game of chess increases the sharpness of ones mind, enabling him to later study Torah on a far better level; (2) it leads to a Kiddush Hashem and the praise of the Jewish people by the gentiles (who prize skilled chess-players and) who see that the Jews are a wise and understanding nation in this particular field of wisdom as well; and (3) even as a mundane way to make an income, i.e. as a chess-player, not only is chess no worse than any other form of business, it in fact has the advantage of involving wisdom. (ibid.)

6. He always had a missing button
I once heard an account concerning one of the Yeshivah Bochurim who regularly wore garments that lacked some buttons. When asked what it is that prevents him from simply sewing them back on, he answered that if he were to do so now, he would have nothing to do on Nitel Nacht! Which Yeshivah Bochur would dream of doing absolutely nothing with his time?! He would rather use the time gainfully, to sew his buttons back on; sewing them in accordance with Jewish custom, so that the garment closes right-over-left, leaving the right side predominant. [The right symbolizes Chessed, kindness and holiness, while the left represents Gevurah, severity] (ibid.)

7. Similar to the verse, And your eyes will behold your Teacher, which in this case refers to the [the Rebbe Rashab] founder of the Tomchei Temimim Yeshivah.
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Unread 12-24-2007, 08:18 PM   #107
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http://www.crownheights.info/media/4...ying-Chess.jpg
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Unread 12-24-2007, 08:26 PM   #108
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Try this instead of a link

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Unread 12-24-2007, 10:09 PM   #109
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Come on, gimme a break! how many people actually ahve a hard tim efinding something to do? i love it, all of a suuden on nittle nacht everyone is running to learn . (didnt one of the rabbeim say that he isnt fond of those buchrim who find it difficult to pull themselves away from their learning) lets be real over here. by show of "hands" how many ppl here had a hard time finding somehing todo?
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Unread 12-24-2007, 10:19 PM   #110
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The point is, one can do a lot of bitul zman and bitul Torah, r"l, but one takes breaks in between doing shtus and actually learns.
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Unread 12-26-2007, 09:34 PM   #111
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So a misnagdish Rabbi told me that nittle nacht was established because the goyim in Russia/Europe used to go on pogroms the eve of their holidays as part of the preparations for the festivities, and theey'd go espcially to shuls and batei midrash where people learn, so that is why before Xmas yiddens try not to gather for learning.
Where and how did the minhag start?
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Unread 12-27-2007, 02:26 AM   #112
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We don't know exactly when it started, the snag's statement notwithstanding. It's the snaggish wish to reduce every minhag to absurdity that causes such statements.

We know from the statement in Hayom Yom that this custom is so as not to be mosif chayus that the origin is not simple.
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Unread 01-02-2008, 04:15 PM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chitas=connect View Post
Come on, gimme a break! how many people actually ahve a hard tim efinding something to do? i love it, all of a suuden on nittle nacht everyone is running to learn . (didnt one of the rabbeim say that he isnt fond of those buchrim who find it difficult to pull themselves away from their learning) lets be real over here. by show of "hands" how many ppl here had a hard time finding somehing todo?
ME ME ME!!!! I had a lot of stuff to do and couldn't do any of it...so I went to sleep, after hours of anguish and hating nittel nacht. The weird thing was that I felt like aI had a night off to do whatever I wanted...and then realized that everything I wanted to do was assur. B'koshi I finished learning the pesukim and rashi's and then davened mincha...just at shkiah. Sigh. At least it's only 2x a year that you can't learn.
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Unread 01-03-2008, 01:26 AM   #114
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Quote:
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We don't know exactly when it started, the snag's statement notwithstanding. It's the snaggish wish to reduce every minhag to absurdity that causes such statements.

We know from the statement in Hayom Yom that this custom is so as not to be mosif chayus that the origin is not simple.
I don't know if your generalized statement is true, I respect this misnagdish Rabbi despite him not approuving of many of the minhagim I took upon myself (why do you say snag, it sounds inappropriate, or am I wrong?).
I do have an idea about the reason for nittle nacht, but I was trying to find a more "concrete" material to speak with when discussing nittle nacht with someone who doesn't understand it, when he told me about th pogroms I didn't know how to answer.
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Unread 01-03-2008, 08:56 AM   #115
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[quote][/At least it's only 2x a year that you can't learn.
QUOTE]

?? and ??
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Unread 01-03-2008, 09:00 AM   #116
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I was actually referring to your use of the label misnagdish, I don't know the guy from Adam. The proper description would be litvishe or olamishe. The second sentence was the serious one.

Bottom line, all possibilities stated for how Nittel started are conjecture.
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Unread 01-03-2008, 09:01 AM   #117
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There are many reasons for nittel and many "academic" as well as popular articles discussing it as well as banned books as well

Taamei Minhagim books in general approach from different angles and appeal to different shorshei neshamos.

having the kelim to have latitude is not pashut.

Where in the gemara does it say that those who are not sensitive to something are not Susceptible...
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Unread 01-03-2008, 03:40 PM   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majorthinker
At least it's only 2x a year that you can't learn.
?? and ??
Nittel nacht and tisha b'Av. Both of these times it is forbidden to be osek b'Torah.
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Unread 01-03-2008, 03:43 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by Gevurah View Post
There are many reasons for nittel and many "academic" as well as popular articles discussing it as well as banned books as well

Taamei Minhagim books in general approach from different angles and appeal to different shorshei neshamos.

having the kelim to have latitude is not pashut.

Where in the gemara does it say that those who are not sensitive to something are not Susceptible...
What do the last two sentences mean?
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Unread 01-03-2008, 07:54 PM   #120
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and tisha b'Av. Both of these times it is forbidden to be osek b'Torah.
There is a chiyuv of TT on TB also (according to most poskim - and I believe that is the accepted view). The limitation is on what to learn.
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Unread 01-04-2008, 12:17 PM   #121
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Torah beat me but I have to sweep the factory these days... ON TBaV, the Rebbe says to learn all day....the right stuff and that does not mean Hilchos Besi HaBechira




Tolerance to respect other's theology and to hold various reasons in thine own kopp.

I was hoping T613 would dig up a gemara for me on that topic....
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Unread 01-04-2008, 12:51 PM   #122
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There is a story about how the Rebbe "caught" his melamed learning Gemara in a closet on TB.
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Unread 01-04-2008, 01:14 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by Majorthinker View Post
ME ME ME!!!! I had a lot of stuff to do and couldn't do any of it...so I went to sleep, after hours of anguish and hating nittel nacht. The weird thing was that I felt like aI had a night off to do whatever I wanted...and then realized that everything I wanted to do was assur. B'koshi I finished learning the pesukim and rashi's and then davened mincha...just at shkiah. Sigh. At least it's only 2x a year that you can't learn.
B"H

Wow, good for you that you love learning Torah so much. That is a wonderful thing.
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Unread 01-04-2008, 02:18 PM   #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bittul View Post
I was actually referring to your use of the label misnagdish, I don't know the guy from Adam. The proper description would be litvishe or olamishe. The second sentence was the serious one.

Bottom line, all possibilities stated for how Nittel started are conjecture.
So the pogroms are also a true possibility?
out of subject: I wasn't referring to a Litvish, not olamishe, I was referring to one who is actually misnagdish. It is a label but not a degrading one.
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Unread 01-04-2008, 03:06 PM   #125
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ON TBaV, the Rebbe says to learn all day....the right stuff and that does not mean Hilchos Besi HaBechira
Oy vey! You are arguing on a clear Ginzburg in Hiskashrus! (Though I agree with you, and I think this was discussed here once somewhere).

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So the pogroms are also a true possibility?
Yes.
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