Leil Limmud

What the heck is with people? ARGH!!

Next week is Shavuot, and the male folk of our community traditionally stay up all night learning Torah. My boys are all planning to be at their yeshiva learning. Well, except for the ChatterBox, he is way too young. I think it’s great – if they can do it, more power to them. A lot of men find it extremely difficult to learn all night, and forego this all night learning marathon session. I believe they know their limits and are respecting them. There are some programs for women too, and as emancipated as I am – I shall be sleeping, thank you very much. I am too old to stay awake all night by choice.

I was asked if I am “letting” the KoD stay up all night to learn. Who on earth gave any woman / man the power to allow their spouse to do something, especially something religious??!! If the KoD wants to stay up all night and learn, good luck to him, better him than me. If he doesn’t – that is his choice. Not my choice. Does he have to ask me permission to daven in the morning? To make brachot? To go to shul? Do I have to ask him if I am allowed to go to a shiur or go to the mikvah?

So, apparently, I was unaware of this, there are a bunch of women who forbid their husbands from Leil Limmud (all night learning) because they feel their husband’s place is to be home with them, able to help out with the kids in the morning, take a couple to shul with him, instead of snoring away until noon or later. They feel it is unfair for them to have to deal with a cranky and tired husband over the rest of the holiday. So they don’t allow their men to go learn. I am flabbergasted. I would never stand in the way of my husband wanting to learn Torah, or my kids – I just don’t get it. I really don’t.

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10 Comments

  1. lady lock and load says:

    Well, ARE you going to LET him stay up to learn??? :) He may want to take a rest after all the driving, have some rachmanus.
    I think there should be a yom tov in which the men have to do all the shopping, cooking and cleaning and serving and I get to stay up to learn with all the other women! When I lived in Israel I used to do it with my friends and it was fantastic!

  2. mirimosh says:

    My question is do these woman know what is the reason the man stay up all night? oy people can be reall crazy sometimes

  3. batya from NJ says:

    whoops i hit send b/f i was done just b/f but i “allow” my husband to decide for himself whether or not he will or will not stay up thru the night. some yrs he has, other years he has not & other years he stayed up till the wee hrs but had to get to shul on time for shacharis so we’ve tried all the diff options…my husband’s grandfather who was a rabbi used to be of the opinion that it is preferable to go to sleep on time & learn like a “mentsch” on shavuos itself rather than to force yourself to stay up & not gain too much from the experience b/c you are too exhausted & then not do any learning over the rest of the holiday b/c of the all-nighter.
    over the past few years, our shul offered interesting shiurim thru the night & my husband would make his decision depending on whether or not he was interested in the different speakers & topics. our shul also offers teen shiurim which is great along with ice-cream sundaes for teens who opt to participate & we allow our 15 yr old to decide for himself as well. some years they have women’s learning too but quite frankly i’ve never been interested & i’ve always opted to sleep instead b/c i’m usually too tired from all of the yom tov preps to learn late at night…
    in short, it should be the man’s decision but he should consult with his wife especially if she needs his assistance with young children IMHO.

  4. Mark says:

    It’s not really a matter of “allow”, but rather an aspect of consideration for each other (and for the young children in the household). For example, during certain periods of the year, I do not daven at shul on Friday night because it completely interferes with the shabbat evening meal and bedtime for our children. I do this mostly because my wife prefers me to do it (even though Kabbalat Shabbat is my favorite tefillah of the week).

    I also don’t go out to learn (or to the gym) during the middling evening hours because that is family mealtime, bathtime, and bedtime for the kids. Basically, the only time I will miss the family dinner is when I have to work late or when traveling (obviously).

    This year, family considerations also preclude my learning the entire Shavuot night because a nephew’s bar mitzvah is on Shavuot morning.

  5. Yael Sandler says:

    Don’t couples communicate? Who uses word like allow when two people have built a home and family together?
    I don’t permit my children to do certain things I deem unacceptable or dangerous.
    Some day (IY”H) if I have a husband I hope to be able to discuss and work things out.
    I hope we afford each other that much consideration and allow our marriage to flourish.
    Am I living in a dream bubble since divorce?

    • Chanief says:

      No, you’re not living in a dream bubble (at least not about this, I don’t know what the rest of your life is like ;) )

      I think that a power structure that enables a spouse to forbid or even “not let” their spouse do something is unhealthy.

  6. Chanief says:

    I think it’s the word “let” and what it implies that is troubling here.

    It always bothers me when I hear of men or women talking about what they “let” their spouse do or not do, and vice versa. It’s a serious pet peeve of mine. The last time I checked marriage was a partnership. I don’t need to ask my husband’s permission to do something, and he doesn’t need to ask for mine – sure we check with each other before making plans or doing things, but it is out of consideration, not to seek the other one’s permission.

    As Yael said above, I don’t permit my children to do certain things, but my husband is an adult who can make decisions for himself (religious or otherwise,) and I expect the same respect in return.

  7. “Allow”. For many years my wife said that. “Thanks for allowing me…” And I would remind her I am in no position to ‘allow’ anything. But her point was, and is, that I respect and accommodate what she wants or seems to need.

    Now, for the matter at hand. I think it is great if a husband can stay up learning all night. I usually do. But in a home full of small children that means Imma is left to handle it all alone at night, and again during the day while Abba is sleeping. Not everyone can handle that equally well. I wouldn’t weight the custom of all-nighters learning against the Torah mitzvah of doing hesed for one’s spouse. The hesed works both ways, of course; but the obligation to help at home if needed still outweighs all night in the shul or beit midrash. There are many people who never stay up all night on Shavuot, and it is not some terrible deficiency in their spiritual growth.

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