Thursday, December 25, 2014

Nittle nacht in Chabad

Young and old spent nittel nacht on the eve of the 25th of December in the main shul of 770 Eastern Parkway with the seforim closed and the chess boards out. more pics HERE. Other Chasidic courts observe Nittle on the eve of January 6th. 
From Hirhurim- The most predominant and logical of explanations for the origin of Nittel Nacht customs, namely, the abandonment of Torah study and the closure of batei midrash on Christmas Eve was in fear of possible pogroms. It was common in the Middle-Ages for the Christians to unleash pogroms in honor of their holidays. By forbidding Torah study there was essentially no reason for anyone to leave their homes on Christmas Eve.
It appears therefore that the entire Nittel Nacht enactment was simply a decree to save Jews from being beaten or killed. Furthermore, Torah study at home was also not an option as it was quite rare for individuals to own their own books in those years. There were even some regions where the Jewish community was told to turn out their lights on Christmas Eve for their own safety. Some suggest that with Chanukah in close proximity to Christmas, the dreidel was a game invented in order to pass the time while sitting in one's home waiting out any fear of pogroms. It is pointed out that the gematria of Nittel is the same as Chanuka alluding that proper observance of Chanuka can override the concerns of Nittel.


  1. So instead of treating Dec 24-25 like any other day of the year in which nothing special occurred, Chabad has turned it into a mini-chess festival and therefore a holiday.

  2. no it is.forbidden.because.the torah learning can serve the sitra acha amd that gpyim shouldnt think we.learn torah in honor of their holy day