For the week ending 11 September 2004 / 25 Elul 5764

Sleep and Slichot

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: Many Jews in my community get up very early these days to say the traditional Slichot service. There are even more people of all ages who are still sleeping at that time of the morning and the noise made by the early risers on their way to the synagogue can be very disturbing. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: A thoughtful Jew should always be careful not to do any mitzvah at the expense of another person. Just as one would not consider stealing someones lulav and etrog to fulfill the mitzvah of the Four Species because this constitutes a mitvah fulfilled through sin so too one must avoid robbing someone of his sleep in order to say Slichot.

The problem is that those who make that noise on their way to the synagogue are often not aware that they are disturbing anyones sleep. It would therefore be a good idea to bring it to their attention by posting signs in the local synagogues or on the bulletin boards of multiple dwellings appealing to those who are heading for Slichot services to avoid making any unnecessary noise which will disturb those still in bed.

You will be surprised to hear many an early Slichot-goer say Slicha (sorry), I didnt realize I was disturbing anyone.

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