Sleeping on Shabbos


By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

In Shemos, Perek Lamed Alef, posuk tes zayin, the Torah tells us that we should keep the Shabbos. There is a posuk in Yeshaya that discusses that one needs to have onegShabbos. The Yerushalmi on that posuk brings down an argument concerning how a person should carry out the oneg of Shabbos. One opinion is that a person has oneg by sleeping on Shabbos. The other opinion is by learning Torah. The Yerushalmi says that really there is no argument; it just depends upon whom we are dealing with, whether the person is a talmid or a baal habayis.

The Rishonim argue about who has the oneg of sleeping on Shabbos. The Reaim and the Meiri in Shabbos, kuf yud ches, amud bais say that for a talmid who learns the whole week, his oneg on Shabbos is to sleep. A baal habayis who does not learn the whole week should have oneg Shabbos by learning on Shabbos.

The second shitta states just the opposite. A talmid who enjoys learning should learn on Shabbos as an oneg, whereas a baal habayis who may not enjoy learning that much should sleep on Shabbos.

The Shelah Hakadosh says that the letters of Shabbos stand for “Sheina Beshabos Taanug,” therefore there is an inyan to sleep both at night and during the day.

We could explain the importance of rest with the following thought process. Every living organism has a time for sleeping and rest. Water has life to it, albeit a very limited life, therefore it requires very little rest. The human being, which is considered the being with the most life, needs the most sleep in order to recharge the life in it.

On Shabbos, when we are given a double neshama with the neshama yeseira, we need more sleep. During the week sleep during the day is frowned upon in Halacha; however, on Shabbos when we have a neshama yeseira even Halacha will encourage a person to sleep during the day.

May we all be zocheh to have the real Oneg Shabbos of sleeping in order to recharge and be able to learn that much more every Shabbos.

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  1. Surely a neshoma does not need sleep, so a neshoma yeseira would have no affect on the need for sleep!
    It is natural that everyone feels extra tired on shabbos afternoon and needs a sleep, as they just had chulent!


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