Sleep and Sin: Ethics of the Fathers

Question

Decades ago I read a Jewish scripture that meticulously listed the possible causes, or contributors, of sin, two of which were stipulated and enumerated, among others, as:

lack of sleep

too much travel

among, as I say, other causes or contributors.

Do you know which scripture this might have been?

I would be grateful to be reminded because I can’t for the life of me, recall which book it was.

Thank you, kindly,

Robert

2 months

Answers

  1. I am not quite sure, but perhaps the source that you are looking for is called “Ethics of the Fathers” (Pirkei Avot in Hebrew). In chapter three, the fifth Mishna teaches: Rabbi Chaninah ben Chachinai said, “He who stays awake at night and goes on his way alone and turns his heart to idle thoughts is liable for his life.” The commentaries explain that when a person is not focused on spiritual matters, they are often drawn to potentially forbidden physical desires instead.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team