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- This topic has 134 replies, 61 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 5 months ago by Joseph.
January 3, 2009 6:31 pm at 6:31 pm #589046
Can someone please explain exactly what the inyan is of NOT learning Torah on their ‘holy night’? Why do Chassidim NOT learn whereas litvacks DO learn and what precisely is the reason?
Can you also elaborate on how the Gemmoroh refers to him and whether or not he is frequently compared to Bilam.
Thank youJanuary 4, 2009 2:30 am at 2:30 am #1121617
Its a minhug (Mekor Chaim of the Chavas Yair OH:155, Chidushei HaRim in the name of Rav Yonason Eyebushitz ZT”L, quoted in Siach Sarfei Kodesh I:522, and Rav Yaakov Emden ZT”L in Sefer Hisavkus) many Yidden have not to learn Torah on kratsmich (either Dec. 25, or the Orthodox Jan. 6).
It is brought down in the Otzar Minhagei Chasidim that the reason is the xtians would start lynch mobs against the Yidden. Another reasons given (Kovetz Michtavim [Chasam Sofer] bsheim Rav Nosson Adler ZT”L) is that Nitel Nacht is aveilus (same as Tisha Bav) for when Yoshka was born.
Mitzvos can be done, chesed, as well as mundane chores. There are those who used to simply go to sleep early and waking up earlier to learn the next day. This, says the Chasam Sofer (likutim 31) was the custom of the Yeshivos in Hungary.
The Chasam Sofer (likutim 32) writes that they only permitted card playing and other such useless behaviors for those whom card playing is an improvement over what they would be invariably doing otherwise – but Bnei Torah may not waste their time with such things on nitel.January 4, 2009 2:36 am at 2:36 am #1121618YW Moderator-42Moderator
FYI Joseph, you used the term “xtians”, the goyim consider “x” to be a symbol for Yushka and it is therefore equivalent to writing “Christians”January 4, 2009 3:24 am at 3:24 am #1121619
The source for a limitation begins with the Gemara in Avoda Zara (8b) which comments on the Mishna’s statements that during the three days surrounding a gentile holiday one is not permitted to engage in business with a gentile. The Gemara then notes the pagan holidays and includes Starana and Kolandarum which, the Gemara associates with the eight days after, and before Tekufas Teves. The Rambam (Pirush Hamishna) associates these days with the early Christians who, it seems, might have stolen the concept of these holidays and their timing and created a holiday season surrounding Christianity so that the beginning of the secular new year would be associated with Yuska and his birth, adding importance to his existence (See Beis Yosef to Orach Chaim 117 in the name of Rav Dovid Avudraham). According to this position, the entire holiday season, from Christmas eve to New Years, should be a time not to engage in business with Christians.
Yet, the Rashbam (cited in Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah A.Z. 2a) notes that the custom was only to limit business on Christmas and Christmas Eve as these were the only days that had any significance on the calendar. Yet, this speaks to engaging in business.
A source for a prohibited night of Torah study appears in the name of Rav Zalman Zvi Ophauzen (Otzar HaVikuchim, p. 174) who was chastised by a Christian galach during a debate about the “well known” Jewish practice of not studying Torah on Chistmas eve. The Chavos Yair (Mekor Chaim, Orach Chaim, 155) notes a practice not to study Torah on the night of “Holada”.
In Minhagei Yeshurun (cited in Taamei Haminhagim p. 500) it is suggested that the Jewish Battei Medrash were out in the fields. If Jews were to be going to learn on those nights, they would be subjugated to potential attack by the gentiles coming home from midnight mass. To prevent the chaos, Jews were told to stay home. Otzar Minhagei Chassidim (119) puts the same idea in a different light, suggesting that it was the Christians who shut the lights in the homes and Shuls of the Jews not allowing them to study.
The Chasam Sofer (Shut Chasam Sofer, VII:31) quotes his Rebbe, Rav Nosson Adler who felt that it was forbidden to rejoice during the holiday. Therefore, Torah study, which gladdens the heart, cannot be studied. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Iggros Moshe Y.D. III:85) applies the same logic in explaining why schools must remain open during this season. The Chasam Sofer himself argues with his Rebbe and suggests that the Minhag of not learning on this night was to avoid giving power to the Sotan. This idea is advanced in the works of Chassidic Rebbes (Bnei Yisosschar’s Regel Yeshara Erech Yeshu HaNotzree) where the idea of Torah study on this night is associated with Sakanna.
The word Nittel itself probably come from an acronym for Nolad Yeshu Tes Lteives “Yuska was born on the ninth of Teives.” Another possibility the word Nittel etymologically comes from the Loshon Kodesh natal (to have been hanged.) Or it can also be come from the Loshon Kodesh word for “being taken away”.
BTW the reason for the mourning on this day is due to all the Yidden killed on this day in Jewish history.
Someone was once asked to eulogize Theodor Herzl. After a few moments, he came up with three positive traits: Herzl had never spoken while putting on his tefilin, had never thought about Torah matters in unclean places and had never studied Torah on Nitel.January 4, 2009 3:26 am at 3:26 am #1121620labochurMember
The Chasam Sofer says the reason for nitel nacht is that the christians who were extremely anti-semitic used to get very violent with Jews on Dec. 25 or Jan. 7, depending on where they lived. Therefore they made a takana no one can go to beis medrash and learn because the streets are dangerous.
R’ Elyashiv says that the reason is that on Dec. 25, all the christians go to pray and there is so much tumah in the world, that al pi kabala if kedushas hatorah comes it can be extremely harmful. He says that this no longer applies nowadays in eretz yisroel since they are mostly, if not all arabs, and don’t have such a thing as christmas. So there isn’t that koach hatumah in Eretz Yisroel. Lefi his reasoning, this probably no longer applies in America either because it is highly doubtful that people go to church. It is not really a religious holiday anymore, but is a day that goyim get together, get drunk, scream rarara, and have a good time. It is much more probable to find them in the bar than at church. The reason for this is when the christaians wanted to make a new religion, they went to Rome and tried to convince people about chrisianity. Since there were such a variety of religions in Rome and were millions of names of gods in their books, no one cared to switch over to crissianity. The pagans, however, said they do not mind switching to crissianity as long as they don’t give up their fun and exciting day- Dec. 25. The crissians answered no problem, by us we’ll also celebrate Dec. 25. This makes sense also because their bible says he was born in the spring( i think) so why would they celebrate in the middle of the winter. Also, this thing with the man in the red suite climbing down chimeneys is only a few hundred years old, so it is not so much a religious holiday.
I assume that the reason that litvaks don’t keep nitel is because either they didn’t live in dangerous areas or because the reason I just mentioned. I heard b’sheim the chofetz chaim that he said he’ll take the “aveiro” of anyone that learns on nitel nacht. I don’t know the mekor for this though.January 4, 2009 5:04 am at 5:04 am #1121621anon for thisParticipant
To the extent that not learning Torah on nittel nacht is due to the danger of going outside, it would seem that learning at home is permissible (hundreds of years ago many people did not have seforim at home so if they could not go out to the bais medrash they couldn’t learn, but b”h this is no longer the case).January 4, 2009 5:07 am at 5:07 am #1121622
Not everything is as it seems. That is what the Rabbonim are for.January 4, 2009 5:55 pm at 5:55 pm #1121623
you also asked how the Gemorrah refers to “him” and if he is compared to Bilam. i dont know about the second part of your question, but if youre referring to yushka, i do know that the Gemorrah refers to him as “oto ha’ish,” because they dont want to call him by name, even his Jewish name, Yehoshuah. (kind of like “acher”)January 4, 2009 6:25 pm at 6:25 pm #1121624
Also, what is the story with ‘him’ and someone ben prachia?January 4, 2009 6:59 pm at 6:59 pm #1121625
The Gemorah (Sotah 47a) – in a passage deleted by the Christian censors – relates
that the great Tanna, Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Prachia had a disciple with whom he dealt very
harshly. The end result was that the student practiced witchcraft and caused many Jews toJanuary 4, 2009 6:59 pm at 6:59 pm #1121626intellegentMember
Oso ha’ish, why oto ha’ish?January 4, 2009 8:04 pm at 8:04 pm #1121627
Thank you Joseph;)
One more question, does the Gemorroh not refer to his mother as a woman of ill repute? If so, he would have been considered a Mamzer, so why was he accepted as a disciple? He in fact should not be accepted amongst Klaal Yisroel,,,,January 4, 2009 8:22 pm at 8:22 pm #1121628
nameless, a mamzer is not rejected by Klal Yisroel. It is of no fault of his own for his status. Indeed there are serious restrictions against people punishing or embarrassing a mamzer.January 4, 2009 9:15 pm at 9:15 pm #1121629
BYM – i should really ask a man on here but isn’t his real name “Yeshu’ah”, not “yehoshuah”?January 5, 2009 12:24 am at 12:24 am #1121630Itzik_sMember
Yes – yshua is the name that they use but it could be a construct of the j4j. It is not even clear that this guy existed and if he did that the religion has anything to do with the (rather minor) historical figure that may have been.
Also, if not the X, what should we use? I know the X is theoretically wrong but it is what everyone uses. If we use the word then we are saying oiso ho’ish is hristos, or the anointed one which is lehavdil an exact translation of Moshiach. Maybe we can use yoshkeists or yoshkelach on this board…January 5, 2009 1:24 am at 1:24 am #1121631
try JC. a lot shorter and easier.January 5, 2009 1:34 am at 1:34 am #1121632Itzik_sMember
JC is no good either – what is the C the initial of :))))! Yeshu (without the Ayin) is ymach shmo vezichrono; or you can use the more politically correct notzrim (probably not too nice a reference for my many friends from Natzrat Ilit LOL!)January 5, 2009 1:48 am at 1:48 am #1121633
goodness. i kinda think this is getting stupid. who cares? just wall him whatever the person you’re talking to calls him and call it a day! why do you need a shitta for how label him???January 5, 2009 1:57 am at 1:57 am #1121634
intellegent: because thats the way we learn ivrit in my school…most of my teachers are israeli, and the one that taught me historia said “oto haish.”
bklyn, im pretty sure it’s yehoshua.January 5, 2009 1:59 am at 1:59 am #1121635
wanna hear something funny? totally random but i remember learning about Julius Caesar in 9th grade and in my notes (!!!) i shortened it to JC. two pages later we learned about oto ha’ish (that was to uphold my last comment!) and i shortened it to JC. lol i think my friend borrowed my notes (again: !!!) and was soooo funcused.
totally random – lol that was such a girl thing to post.January 5, 2009 2:13 am at 2:13 am #1121636
well seems like BYM and Brooklyn19 are facing a dilemma… any men here to help us out??? lol i could be wrong. it’s happened before :}January 5, 2009 2:17 am at 2:17 am #1121637asdfghjklParticipant
brooklyn19: we gatta bring the rabbis in here to settle this one!!!!January 5, 2009 2:19 am at 2:19 am #1121638
asdf – you don’t know? shame on you.January 5, 2009 2:22 am at 2:22 am #1121639
brooklyn19 and asdfghjkl, we dont need men to help us out…i remember very clearly that oto ha’ish’s real name was yehoshua. if you really want, i can dig up my notes from 9th grade to make sure…January 5, 2009 2:25 am at 2:25 am #1121640asdfghjklParticipant
Bais Yaakov maydel: go dig out the notes!!! i 2 recall it being yehoshua!!!January 5, 2009 2:35 am at 2:35 am #1121641
not really in the mood of doing that…it would be akin to digging for king tut’s tomb.January 5, 2009 2:41 am at 2:41 am #1121642Josh31Participant
My understanding is that Misnagdim (non Chassidim) generally ignore the date. On the other extreme some say that since we do not know for sure which day he was born, every night has to be treated as a possible Nittel. That is the Minhag in the casinos!!!!!January 5, 2009 5:05 pm at 5:05 pm #1121643WolfishMusingsParticipant
R’ Elyashiv says that the reason is that on Dec. 25, all the christians go to pray and there is so much tumah in the world, that al pi kabala if kedushas hatorah comes it can be extremely harmful.
Based on this reasoning, it should be a greater problem to learn on Easter. Church attendance is much greater on Easter. In addition, Easter is far more of a holy day for Christians than Christmas is.
The WolfJanuary 5, 2009 5:48 pm at 5:48 pm #1121644Feif UnParticipant
BYM & Brooklyn19: just call him Jesus, leave off the second name.
One of my Rabbeim always referred to him like that.January 5, 2009 6:05 pm at 6:05 pm #1121645gavra_at_workParticipant
??????? is Latin for C-st, which is why X is used. (copied from wiki)
You can just call him JON, or Jesus of Nazereth.
Wolf: The issue may be due to midnight mass, not the actual day attendance (night = more Tumah?)January 5, 2009 6:36 pm at 6:36 pm #1121646
Given the claims christianity makes about ueshu, when he lived and when he died, it is highly unlikely that he was a talmid of R’ Yehoshua Ben Prachya. R’Yehoshuia Ben Prachya lived at least 100 years before the churban, (Hillel – at least 1 Dor later -was Nasi about 70 years before the Churban). The Chacham Tzvi says there were several Yeshus who Shas refers to. The christiam one is not him.
Missionaries (unfortunately, I have had the perverse “pleasure” of engaging these people in debate)do not bother to try and shoehorn him into Shas, they would rather shoehorn him into Tanach. It suits their purposes a lot better. It is mostly hate sites and anti semitic preachers that try and claim Shas (the Talmud as they refer to it) portrays him in a bad light, and make outrageous claims that Bilaam is a code word for Yeshu. They are the ones who claim that the gemara about Ben Patera is about yeshu. They are the ones who claim the gemara about “Miriram Megadla” (either bonim or sa-ar – this miriam was either a nanny who raised kids or someone who did hair) is really a story about mary magdalene.
Whether his name is Yeshua or Yehoshua also depends on who you ask. The misisonaries who call themselves “jews for j” call him yeshua – savior.
Whatever his name, yidden have been slaughtered and buthchered in that name for more than 2000 years. Do we have to talk about him?January 5, 2009 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #1121647
‘Whatever his name, yidden have been slaughtered and buthchered in that name for more than 2000 years. Do we have to talk about him? ‘
HE was the excuse, not the REASON!January 5, 2009 8:54 pm at 8:54 pm #1121648WolfishMusingsParticipant
Wolf: The issue may be due to midnight mass, not the actual day attendance (night = more Tumah?)
Okay, but then so what? Not all Christians who go to church on Christmas go to the midnight mass. Firstly, only Catholics have a midnight mass — Protestants don’t have Mass at all! Secondly, even many Catholics who go to Mass don’t do so at midnight but rather during the day.
In addition, I’d wager that you have more people attending a midnight mass at the Vatican than in all the churches in New York combined. Perhaps we should not learn when it’s midnight in Rome?
The WolfJanuary 5, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm #1121649gavra_at_workParticipant
You probably know more about the catholic/protestant divide than I do, so I defer. Besides, I am not well versed in Nittel (I learn on the night of the 24th), and was just giving a possible answer for the minhag and Svorah of the Chasam Sofer.
Night still may equal more Tumah, which is why when it is night there is more reason not to allow those “Kochos” to adopt the spiritual power of Torah.
No I do not understand the concept, which is well beyond me.January 5, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm #1121650feivelParticipant
was he a mamzer?
his father was unknown, he cant be poskined as a mamzer.
probably a shtuki
at the very worst a safek mamzer.January 5, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm #1121651PMMember
jphone: Rav Shrira Gaon writes that the early Christians forged the history books to make it appear that J’s death was shortly before the churban, but he really lived some 200 years earlier.January 6, 2009 12:35 am at 12:35 am #1121652
jphone, he was definitely a student of R’ Yehoshua ben Perachya. the story goes that oto ha’ish was walking with his Rebbe and he said hello to a woman walking on the street. R’ yehoshua gave him mussar, yelled at him, idk exactly, and refused to see him ever again. on his deathbed, when oto ha’ish came knocking begging for forgiveness, he still refused to see or forgive him, so oto ha’ish started his own “branch” of Judaism, which evolved into Christianity.January 6, 2009 12:51 am at 12:51 am #1121653JAPPMember
keep on learningJanuary 6, 2009 8:03 pm at 8:03 pm #1121654
BYM: DEFINITELY? You were there? As many opinions as there on here in the coffee room, there are as many opinions in the seforim. The yaavetz writes that there were NUMEROUS Yeshus referred to in Shas.
Greek and Roman mythology is filled with many people whose backrounds are similar to the “founder of christianity” (actually that was paul – but thats another discussion).
I still dont see why we are discussing someone in whose name yidden have been slaughtered and buthcred for over 2000 years.January 6, 2009 8:04 pm at 8:04 pm #1121655
“HE was the excuse, not the REASON!”
Did I disagree with this sentiment? All I wrote was that yidden were slaughtered in his name.November 20, 2011 3:08 am at 3:08 am #1121656roseofsharonMember
i was researching a word and found this site, i respect jphone and agree with nameless
the slaughter/torture of the yidden under the name of oso ha ish is/has no reasonable explanation – evil is not to strong a word – thank you to all the learned comments involvedNovember 20, 2011 3:32 am at 3:32 am #1121657real-briskerMember
Good question. I’m not sure. If we pretend we don’t notice, it might be better for all involved.November 20, 2011 4:32 am at 4:32 am #1121658real-briskerMember
MIB – It’s pretty clear in the other thread, I guess only for a few more hours.December 24, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am #1121659shmoelMember
What can we learn when we put our Gemoras down on nittel nacht?December 24, 2012 2:59 pm at 2:59 pm #1121660
Could you learn from a Sefer Torah Shekasvo Min?
BTW, the name Nittul is a play on what it was obviously referred to by the christians, Nettle, which means birth in Latin.
The name Nittul suggest another reason not to learn. The Gemara says regarding Trayfos, Kol Hayesser Kinatul Dami, what is extra is as if it is missing — and renders the animal a Traifa. Now, since they added to the Torah, and thereby ruined the while concept of torah, we don’t learn that night to show that adding is taking away.December 24, 2012 4:25 pm at 4:25 pm #1121661longarekelMember
the real nittel is jan.6. we learn then too.December 24, 2012 5:15 pm at 5:15 pm #1121663
Is there any special food we eat on Nittel?
Is there any Tefilla to say before you don’t learn?
Do Sefardim keep the whole ramadan?
Is it a Hiddur to play chess, or to cut t. paper?
If you started a game before Chatzos, and Chatzos chanced by, do you finish the game, go learn, go to sleep, Daven Maariv, leave the game for next year, or argue if you are supposed to learn on Nittul night?December 24, 2012 5:39 pm at 5:39 pm #1121664WIYMember
I love how everyone pretends this is such a pertinent issue for them…I think those who are makpid on NOT being mevatel Torah the whole year (none of us) should worry about how to or if they should be mevatel it on Nittel. Everyone else should drink an ice cold glass of reality and stop pretending to be holier than thou.December 24, 2012 6:27 pm at 6:27 pm #1121666Sam2Participant
It’s one thing to stop learning on Nittel. People need rest anyway sometimes so why not take it this one day a year. It’s another entirely to close the Mikvaos. There are some Mikvaos that are closed on 4 days (the 25th, the T’kufah, and the night before of each), which is actually being M’vatel K’lal Yisrael from Piryah V’rivyah.December 24, 2012 7:06 pm at 7:06 pm #1121667
Huh? Holier than who?
You managed to find depth in a funny commedy. You can’t find depth in an ancient Minhag Yisroel?
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