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Section:  Avodah   Category: 48 Kinyanei Torah
Kinyan 15 Mi'ut Sheina - Rav Chaim Brisker Wakes Up And The Netziv Cries
How is it possible Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman and Rav Chaim Kanievsky barely sleep a few hours a night, but the day that I sleep under 5 hours I get sick?  Sleep is public enemy number one to any serious minded person.  Sleep is called Ilana D' Mosa, the tree of death.  Life is about accomplishing.   When you sleep you can accomplish absolutely nothing.  Children understand this very well, which is why putting them to sleep is so difficult.  Would you lay down in your grave based on a promise that tomorrow you can play again?

The Alter of Novhardok asks how can you expect to become a Talmid Chochom if you are not willing to give up even one night of sleep a week.  Rav Yisroel Salanter was known to have said that every Yid want to know Shas... but in one day.  And that day he wants to sleep eight hours!

So getting back to our question how do our frail gedolim manage and why can't we?  The answer may lie in the fact that it is our neshama that gives life to our body.  That's why as soon as the neshama leaves are bodies, we lay lifeless with no ability to perform any function.  Our strength is not derived from the spinach or wheaties that we eat.  It is from our toil in torah and mitzvos.  This may sound scientifically silly but look at the facts.  Great gedolim can live a century without much food, sleep, or exercise.  Amazing how the life expectancy years ago didn't top 40 but our gedolim lived past 70,80, 90 years.  

Maybe in our weakened state rather than getting sick trying to sleep less, before we ask Hashem to give us superhuman strength to go on three hours a night, we probably need to fully utilize our waking hours in order to strengthen our weakened neshamos.  Wasting time on the wrong activities is no better than the death of sleeping.  In fact the Chofetz Chaim says that if you are going to waste your time on Rosh Hashana afternoon you may as well go to sleep since at least you will wake up refreshed.

Out of all the sleeping stories we need to choose one so I will share with you this one very briefly.  One night at 3 am, the Netziv, who was then an old man, called for his granddaughter's husband and co-Rosh Yeshiva of Volzhin, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik.  Rav Chaim ran nervously worried if the Netziv was okay.  When he got there he saw the Netziv sitting near a table piled with seforim.  The Netziv wanted to show him proof to something they had argued out the previous day.  Rav Chaim told him to please give him a minute to say Birchas HaTorah since he just woke up.  Hearing this the Netziv burst out in tears, crying what will be with this young generation?  It is already 3 am and you haven't yet said Birchas HaTorah!?!
RELATED ARTICLES:48 kinyanei torah  Alter of Novhardhok  Netziv  Rav Chaim Soloveitchik  Rav Yisroel Salanter  sleeping

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