Should I stay up on Shavuos night? | Rav Avigdor Miller

Q: Should I stay up on Shavuos night?

A: There’s no question that it’s a big zchus to stay up on Shavuos night. Now, some people however are ill, they’re physically weak, so I’m not telling you what to do. But if you’re capable, there’s no reason why not because it’s a demonstration of what we said before – for an important event it pays to be up all night.

There was one time when I was in Williamsburg – the old Satmerer Rav was still alive then. So I went in to see him because I was going to do something, a job, for him. I was the one who composed the advertisement against the Zionists that was placed in the New York Times – I wrote it for the Satmerer Rav. So I went in to him and he gave me a bracha that I should succeed. And I was up all night writing that article. Over and over again, I worked on it. All night I was up because it was important!

Now, when you’re going to accept the Torah and you know how important it is, so you stay up all night. Just like they stayed up that night at Har Sinai. That’s our tradition, that they were up all night. They couldn’t sleep; they didn’t want to sleep, they were so excited. The truth is that you do want to sleep, but l’zeicher, to remember what our forefathers did we act as if we are excited to stay up all night.

Now we have to know that everything in the halacha is with a grain of salt. It’s not a mitzvah min hatorah to stay up. It’s not even a takanas chachomim. It’s a minhag of the Am Yisroel. And therefore, if you have any chashoshos, any suspicions, about your health, so consult somebody. And if he’ll tell you it’s better you should sleep, so you go to sleep. But otherwise there’s no question that Klal Yisroel is up that night and it makes a tremendous impression on them. They feel like they’re walking in the footsteps of our fathers who prepared in that manner by staying up all night waiting for that great day of Kabolas Hatorah.

TAPE # E-109

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  1. It sounds like there’s a mistake here. Most meforshim say we stay up a whole night because by Matan Torah the yidden did NOT stay up.

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