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Giving Charity Before Shabuot; Learning on Shabuot Night

Rav Haim Palachi (Turkey, 1788-1869), amid his discussion of the month of Sivan in his Mo’ed Le’chol Hai (listen to audio recording for precise citation), writes that it is proper to allocate money for charity on Ereb Shabuot. He says that one should designate 91 coins for charity, and then add 13 additional coins, one coin at a time, for a total of 104 (twice the numerical value of the word "Ben"). The money should then be given to a worthy, needy Torah scholar. Rav Haim Palachi writes that through this practice one rectifies the sin of Adam Ha’rishon, the sin of the golden calf, and sins involving the Berit Mila, and also brings children to those who are childless and brings the redemption closer. (Those who wish to observe this practice can bring me a bag of coins, such as quarters, and appoint me their agent to distribute the money to needy Torah scholars before Shabuot.)

In discussing the customs of Shabuot, Rav Haim Palachi writes that if someone remains awake throughout the night of Shabuot, then his Mazal (fortune) will likewise never "sleep" throughout the year, and he is guaranteed to live throughout the year. He also is rewarded with sons who are Talmideh Hachamim. Additionally, Rav Haim Palachi writes, this merit atones for sins involving viewing inappropriate sights. He cites the comments of the Hida (Rav Haim Yosef David Azulai, 1724-1807) in his work Simhat Ha’regel that many things which happen to a person over the course of the year are the result of his conduct on the night of Shabuot. Accordingly, he writes, one must avoid speaking about mundane matters on this night, and even when he needs to interrupt his learning for some important matter, he should ensure to speak in Lashon Ha’kodesh. He adds that the Rabbi bears the responsibility of warning his congregants against wasting time with idle chatter, frivolity and the like, and that if one wastes time on Shabuot night, he should preferably go to sleep.

Rav Haim Palachi further writes that if one feels he will be unable to pray with Kavana (concentration) in the morning if he remains awake all night, he should take a nap during the night. Despite the immense benefits of remaining awake throughout the night, it is far more important to ensure to pray properly in the morning.

Summary: There is a custom to set aside 104 coins for charity before Shabuot, and donate them to a needy Torah scholar. The practice of remaining awake throughout the night of Shabuot is very significant and valuable, but one must ensure not to waste any time throughout the night, and to devote himself exclusively to Torah study. If one feels he will be unable to pray with concentration in the morning if he remains awake all night, he should take a nap to ensure that he prays properly.


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