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Vach Nacht


I’d like some clarification on the vach nacht. If it isn’t our minhag to learn the whole night before the baby’s bris (we are litvish), is it still relevant for us to invite the local children to say Shema with our baby boy the night before the bris? This seems to be the accepted practice even among the non-chassidish community, but I would have thought that the 2 parts go hand in hand- that the children’s Shema is only for those who have the minhag of learning all night before the bris. Are they really 2 separate minhagim? Or is the children’s Shema not even a minhag, but rather a helpful practice for the baby’s protection?




Mazal Tov on the birth of your son, may he grow up to be a big talmid chacham.

Regarding your question, the minhag of staying up and learning the night before the birs is a minhag that has definite roots to it. (Zohar Lech Lecha 93, Shela Perek Ner Mitzva 48, Shem Hagedolim (Seforim 7-43), Os Yisroel 1-3 who brings a number of sources for this minhag) The reason is in order to bring kedusha to the neshoma of the baby, and for a protection. There is another minhag, done by the Sefadim and Chassidim of making a seuda the night before the bris. It is also done for protection, and as simcha for the mitzva that will take place the next day, (See Divrei Yatziv Y:D 160). It seems that the two minhagim are not specifically connected to each other, and different people, have different minhagim.

Regarding the minhag that we have, to call in the local children and they say shema, and get some sort of treat. This might be related to the above minhagim, but I don’t know, as saying shema and hamalach hagoel, is most probably done as s protection. But to be honest, although this is our minhag and we should continue doing it, personally, I have not found, the source of it.

If you know of the source to this minhag I would be happy to know.

Best wishes and Mazal Tov again


 מטה משה עמוד גמילות חסדים חלק שביעי בעניני מילה פרק ד-ב “נוהגין להקיץ ולשמור הנער בליל שמיני. ומצאתי כתוב טעם מנהג זה, שהשטן מכוון להזיק לנער ולמונעו ממצות מילה, לפי שקשה לו שישראל מקיימין המצוה שבזכותה ניצולין מדינה של גיהנם. וסמך לדבר ואתה את בריתי תשמור (בראשית יז, ט), שבשעת הברית צריכין שמירה”. ובס’ מגדל עוז להיעב”ץ פ”א אות יג-י”ד י”ג בארץ ישראל נוהגים להיות נעורים אצל התינוק בכל הלילות שקודם המילה ועוסקים שם בתורה (ויש ללמוד בספר הזוהר פ לך לך דף צ”ב יג) י”ד ובמדינות הללו נהגו כך בלילה שלפני המילה ועושין קצת סעודה ואין לה דין סעודת מצוה שאינה אלא מנהג בעלמא”.


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