Friday, Jan 14, 2022

Megillah 19: Time is of the Essence

On this daf, we find teachings about Krias Shema.

A certain person once woke up fairly early in the morning. He usually went to a later minyan, which would leave him two more hours of sleep. Yet, he wondered whether he was permitted to go back to sleep. After all, although he didn’t believe that he would oversleep, perhaps he would. Plus, maybe it was forbidden to go back to sleep for another reason. Since it was already the time when it is permitted to daven, maybe he was forbidden to go back to sleep unless he at least said Shema, which has a limited time span.

When this question was presented to Rav Moshe Sternbuch, he ruled that it depends: “If the person has a regular time when he wakes up so that he is certain never to miss the time for Shema, the custom is to return to sleep. Nevertheless, it is preferable to set an alarm clock to ensure that he does not oversleep. But if he is not accustomed to waking up at a certain time and could oversleep, it is forbidden to go back to sleep. I actually wonder why the earlier poskim don’t mention this prohibition.” He continued, “I later found that when the Chazon Ish was asked this question, he permitted one to go back to sleep. I heard that the reasoning was because when the person began sleeping, it was permitted to sleep. As long as he is still in bed, his rest is considered a continuation of earlier permitted sleep. Yet perhaps this is only if he knows that he will get up on time. If he knows that it is possible for him to oversleep, he must remain awake” (Shu”t Teshuvos Vehanhagos).

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