Tikkun Chatzot

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There are certain prayers known as Tikkun Chatzot which are said slightly before Chatzot (midnight).

The obligation

  1. In order to feel pain over the destruction of the Bet HaMikdash, every night slightly before Chatzot, one should say Tikkun Chatzot. [1] However, the Minhag is not to say Tikkun Chatzot and some achronim justify the minhag, nonetheless, it’s praiseworthy to say it from time to time. [2]
  2. Women may say Tikkun Chatzot. [3]

When it should be said

  1. Ashkenazim hold that it should be said right before Chatzot (midnight) and then one should learn from Chatzot until morning when one can pray. [4] However, Sephardim hold that it should be said at Chatzot of night or afterwards until Olot HaShachar. [5]
  2. Tikkun Chatzot should be said before Olot HaShachar. However, many poskim say that one may say Tikkun Leah after Olot HaShachar. [6]
  3. During the three weeks (Ben HaMetzarim), Tikkun Chatzot should be said after Chatzot of the day. [7]

How it should be said

  1. It is the practice to say Tikkun Chatzot while sitting on the floor near a doorpost that has a mezuzah. One shouldn't sit directly on the ground rather one should sit on a cloth, pillow or small bench. If the floor is tiled one can be lenient to sit directly on the floor. [8]
  2. The Minhag is to place ashes on one's head in the area where the Tefilin Shel RoshRabbi Asher ben Yechiel (1250-1327), often referred to by the acronym of his name, Rosh, one of the more prominent Ashkenazic Rishonim, born in Germany, died in Spain, author of commentary published in the back of the gemaras, father of the Tur. is placed. [9]
  3. Another practice is to not to wear shoes during Tikkun Chatzot. [10]
  4. Some had the practice to say Tikkun Chatzot communally in shul. Even though some oppose the practice, it has what to rely on and has it's benefits. [11]

The feeling with which it should be said

  1. One should be pained over the destruction of the Temple. [12] However, in general, when one is learning or praying one should do so with happiness.[13]

Relative precedence

  1. If one only has time for Tikkun Chatzot and Selichot, one should say Tikkun Chatzot. [14]
  2. If one only has time for Tikkun Chatzot and learning torah, one should say Tikkun Chatzot. [15]
  3. If saying Tikkun Chatzot will prevent one from being able to wake up for praying at HaNetz (Vatikin), nonetheless, one should say Tikkun Chatzot and pray after HaNetz. However, even if one is waking up to pray after HaNetz, one must ensure to say Shema before the latest time for Shema and pray Shemona Esreh before the latest time for Shemona Esreh.[16]

Days it is not said

  1. On the following nights no Tikkun Chatzot is said: Shabbat, [17] Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur, Pesach (Yom Tov and Chol HaMoed), Shavuot, Sukkot (just Yom Tov), and Shemini Aseret. [18]
  2. On the following nights no Tikkun Rachel is said, but Tikkun Leah is still said: days when there's no Tachanun, Chol HaMoad Sukkot, Asert Yemei Teshuva, year of Shemittah in Israel, day after the Molad before Rosh Chodesh, [19] and days of Sefirat HaOmer. [20]
  3. In the following cases no Tikkun Rachel is said: at a mourner's house, the house of a groom, and the father, Tzandak (holder of the baby), Mohel of a Brit Milah. [21]

What texts should be said?

A free copy of the text can be found from the Siddur Torat Emet (pdf).

Sources

  1. S”A 1:3 writes that it is proper for a God fearing person to be pained and agonize over the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash. Mishna Brurah 1:9 writes that the Mekubalim emphasized the great importance of waking up at chatzot to say a certain Seder of Tefillot organized by the Arizal, printed in the siddurim.
  2. Piskei Teshuvot 1:10. Yavetz in Mor UKesiah (Siman 1) writes that the obligation only applies to Torah scholars and in Israel. The Chida in Machzik Bracha 1:3 argues that it applies to all people in all places. Kitzur S”A 1:5 writes that it’s good to say Tikkun Chatzot if a person is able to wake up at Chatzot and say Tikkun Chatzot.
  3. Sh"t Rav Poalim 1:9 (Sod Yesharim), Ben Ish Chai Vayishlach 6 write that women shouldn't say Tikkun Chatzot. However, Kaf HaChaim 1:15, Halichot Olam 1 pg 48, and Halacha Brurah 7 write that women are allowed to say Tikkun Chatzot. Yalkut Yosef (vol 1, pg 173) rules like the Kaf HaChaim but writes that the minhag is that women don't say Tikkun Chatzot.
  4. Mikdash Melech on Zohar (Vayahakel 195c) writes the Tikkun Chatzot can be said from the second section of the night which is 2 hours (Shaot Zmaniot) before Chatzot. Shulchan Aruch HaRav rules like that. Similarly, Yeshuot Yacov 1 writes that Chatzot should be said a little before Chatzot. So rule the Malbim in Arsot HaChaim 1:31 and Mishna Brurah 1:9. See also S"A 1:2 who writes one should wake up to pray to Hashem specifically at the end of the first third, the second third, or at the end of the night because prayer is especially accepted at those times.
  5. Sh"t Yachave Daat 1:46 pg 135 based on the Zohar (Chaye Sara pg 132b) and Arizal (Shaar Kavanot pg 52d) that one should not say Tikkun Chatzot before Chatzot. This is also the opinion of Aruch HaShulchan 1:21, Birkei Yosef 1:6, Ben Ish Chai (Vishlach 4), Yalkut Yosef (5764 edition, vol 1, pg 165), and Halacha Brurah 1:5
  6. Kitzur S”A 1:5 writes that if a person can’t wake up at Chatzot a person should wake up before Olot Hashachar. Igret Rramaz 11 writes that one should say it before Olot HaShachar and in a Shat HaDachak one can say it after Olot. This is brought down by the Shaarei Teshuva 1:6. However, Sh"t Lev Chaim writes that one can say it until the time to put on Talit and Tefilin. Ben Ish Chai Vayishlach 8 argues on this based on the language of the Arizal that one shouldn't say it after Olot. Nonetheless, Zichronot Eliyahu 400:17 and Nemukei Orach Chaim (quoted in Maasef LeKol HaMachanot 1:29) say that one can lenient regarding Tikkun Leah. This is also the opinion of Rav Ovadyah in Halichot Olam 1 pg 49, and Halacha Brurah 1:6.
  7. Kaf HaChaim 551:222. Hinted to in Mishna Brurah 551:103, see Piskei Teshuvot there.
  8. Yalkut Yosef (5764 edition, vol 1, pg 161)
  9. Yalkut Yosef (5764 edition, vol 1, pg 161)
  10. Yalkut Yosef (5764 edition, vol 1, pg 161)
  11. Sh"t Shevut Yacov writes that the practice of some groups to get together to say Tikkun Chatzot at night in Shul was inappropriate because it displayed arrogance as Tikkun Chatzot is something only a minority of people keep. However, Chida in Birkei Yosef 1:3 and Mishna Brurah 1:9 argue on the Shevut Yacov because it's preferable to pray as a community as it says "BeRov Am Hadrat Melech".
  12. S"A 1:3 based on the Rosh (Brachot 3b).
  13. Mishna Brurah 1:10, Kaf HaChaim 1:25
  14. Ben Ish Chai (Vayishlach 9), Yalkut Yosef (5764 edition, vol 1, pg 191) Rav Mordechai Eliyahu (Maamer Mordechai 34:6).
  15. Ben Ish Chai (Vayishlach 9), Yalkut Yosef (5764 edition, vol 1, pg 174) and Rav Mordechai Eliyahu (Maamer Mordechai 34:6).
  16. Halacha Brurah 1:4
  17. Shaarei Tzion (beginning of sefer) writes that one does say Tikkun Leah on Shabbat, nonetheless, most achronim rule otherwise including the Ben Ish Chai (Vayishlach 7), Kaf HaChaim 1:13, and Halacha Brurah 1:8.
  18. Ben Ish Chai (Vayishlach 7), Kaf HaChaim 1:13, and Halacha Brurah 1:8 quote this list of days that there's no Tikkun Chatzot. Of course one doesn't say Tikkun Chatzot on Yom Tov Sheni Shel Galiyot just like the first day Yom Tov. However, Chesed LaAlafim 1:2, and Kaf HaChaim Palagi 3:34 write that one does say Tikkun Leah on Yom Tov.
  19. Ben Ish Chai Vayishlach 5, Kaf HaChaim 1:11, Halacha Brurah 1:9 write that the night of the day of the molad has only Tikkun Leah even if it's not the day of Rosh Chodesh itself. For example, Rosh Chodesh Sivan 5770 falls out on Friday May 14th 2010 and the molad falls out on Thursday May 13th 2010. If the Molad and Rosh Chodesh coincide then there's no Tikkun Rachel because there's no Tachanun on Rosh Chodesh.
  20. Ben Ish Chai Vayishlach 5, Kaf HaChaim 1:11, and Halacha Brurah 1:9
  21. Kaf HaChaim Palagi 3:35, Ben Ish Chai Vayishlach 5, Kaf HaChaim 1:11