Thoughts on Judaism

Thursday, December 25, 2008

and then there was ... nitel?

What the heck is nitel, anyway? What does it mean?

Obviously, to the kabalistically minded, the holiness of something or other is violated by the shortest night of the year (which it is not anymore, but what the hay). Others specifically learned sedarim on that night, presumably to reject the kabala custom of not learning, and the Chabad Rebbe of that time denounced their actions. When I learned in Chabad, people completed the daily learning shiurim and then gathered for games of chess or just did laundry.

But, who first declared nitel a bad night. I mean, Easter we do nothing. Eid al Fiter we do nothing. Halloween, nothing. Even Christmas day, we do nothing special. Where did the "custom" of not learning, apparently in controvention of a Torah Aseh, get such prominence? Takana de Rabah?


  • nitel is related to "natal" which means refers to birth; or the day that commemorates Jesus' birth (Christmas)
    But I have no idea why you can't learn then.

    By Anonymous toemoe8, at 11:57 PM  

  • Studying is often done in the memory of deceased. studying on nitl nakht may be counted as in memory of Yeshu. So, Jews decided not to.

    By Blogger Kuzma Prutkov, at 4:57 PM  

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