ARTICLES

WHO NEEDS SLEEP?

RABBI REUVEN STEPSKY

Nov 13, 2006
Everyone enjoys a good night’s sleep, peaceful and undisturbed but over the coming weeks in this country, due to Guy Fawkes and other celebrations, your sleep is bound to be disturbed with the bangs of fireworks throughout the night.
 
I’ve often wondered why did G-d ‘create’ us with the necessity to sleep? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good ‘snooze’ anytime, but more than a third of our lives are spent sleeping! The famous rabbi and physician Maimonides (Deut 4:4) recommends 8 hours of sleep a night – what a waste of time! Imagine how much we could achieve if we didn’t need to sleep. All those extra hours!
 
However, the Talmud (Nedarim 15a) tells us that as hard as you may try it’s impossible to remain awake for more than 3 consecutive days. Why did G-d set up this system?
 
One possible explanation of this can be explained with a statement from our sages (Talmud Berochos 57b) “Sleep is one sixtieth of death”. What does
this mean?
 
We are so involved with our lives, in our own little world, that we believe we are in total control. “In truth, how can I go to sleep,” I ask myself, “my world will fall apart without me, there’s just so much to do, what will happen if I don’t finish…(the end of the universe!)” Then suddenly we are overtaken by this incredible tiredness, our whole body becomes numb, our eyelids become so heavy, and it’s just impossible to keep them open. “What will happen to my world, my home, my business if I’m not on top of everything” we ask ourselselves . However, beyond our control, one sixtieth of death takes over us, we sink into a deep slumber …are YOU still awake?!
 
And you know, when you wake up the next morning, everything’s up and running, everything’s as we left it. All seemed to manage quite well without you .
 So just a subtle reminder as to Who is in control. “Behold, he neither slumber nor sleeps- The Guardian of Israel.” (Psalms 121)

TAGS for this article: Sleep