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Shavuot Tips for Staying Up All Night

May 25, 2017 | by David Kilimnick

Eating cheese blintzes, I can do. But staying up all night, past sunrise?

The two main traditions of the holiday of Shavuot are learning Torah and eating blintzes. Preparation for the receiving of the Torah and eating dairy in rolled up crepe form, are holiday requirements. Known as Tikun Leil Shavuot, it is an atonement for us falling asleep before receiving the Torah in the desert.

The eating, I can do. But staying up all night, past sunrise?

It’s no easy feat so allow me share some of the methods that I have used over the years to stay awake on Shavuot:

Eat a Long Meal

Most people end their meals at around 10pm. They are stuck with a good six to seven hours before morning services. You could spend all of that time learning Torah, but I haven’t studied anything for six hours since my last college exam; and that was because I never showed up to class.

Eating and enjoyment on the holiday is also a Mitzvah so I suggest a marathon meal that continues until as close to sunrise as possible. You can accomplish this by chewing. Many suggest 18 chews before swallowing, corresponding with the Hebrew word ‘Chai,’ meaning life. I just came up with that, but it sounds really good. To extend my meal, I was chewing well over 40 times. For leftover food that may be a bit stale, I was chewing up to 80 times.

Stuff Blintzes

Don’t just eat. Eat food that is stuffed into other food, otherwise known as blintzes. Fill them with cheese. Fill them with cottage cheese. Fill them with feta cheese. There are hundreds of kinds of cheeses. Blintzes can also be stuffed with fruit, chocolate, potatoes, chicken and brisket. Make an activity of it, and you will pass the night learning how to fill your blintzes. Filling blintzes with different berries is a good hour and a half right there. If you want, cheese can be the night’s filling focus.

Show up 20 Minutes Late to Class

A Torah class is going to happen with or without you. So do not feel bad if you disrupt the class by showing up late.

If you show up 20 minutes late, looking exhausted, everybody will think you just came from doing something important, like filling blintzes.

That trick got me fired. So do not do that at your job. This trick also got me a 1.7 GPA my sophomore year in college.


Go for a shpatzeer. A shpatzeer is a slow and steady walk, at a pace that will ensure you will not sweat. Therefore, it is not exercise and a religious thing to do on a holiday.

Drink Coffee

I would suggest a slushee mochaccino. It is more fun.

Ritalin seems to be an excellent stimulant. Chances are that some local children have it. Take the Ritalin and follow my methods of staying up all night, and you will fit right in with the academic community.

Warning: Ritalin may be addictive. Try to load up on coffee and cola instead. Caffeine is more socially acceptable. So, stick to mochaccino until you can find Ritalin in drink form.

Bring Your Children

They keep you up when you are trying to sleep on Shabbat afternoon…If you have a newborn, bring them along as well. When you are about to fall asleep, they will make sure you don’t. Their screaming and crying will also keep the rest of the community awake and not liking you.

Better yet, get rid of the family’s supply of Ritalin and everybody will get some sleep next Shabbat.

Board Games

Play Jewish oriented games and it is like you are learning Torah. Some great games that I played over Shavuot: ‘Who wants to be a Mitzvahneer?’ ‘Run for Shabbos.’ ‘Settlers of Judea & Samaria.’

Have a Friend Smack You

If you go to the Torah class, there is a good chance you will fall asleep. It’s just the truth. If somebody is there to smack you, that might keep you up for a few minutes. Your natural instinct will be to hit him back but he’s actually doing you a huge favor because he is saving you from suffering the greatest form of embarrassment; snoring in public.

Talk to People

Best to do this in the Shiur. If I wasn’t talking and snoring, I would have fallen asleep.

We have to receive the Torah together. For that reason, talking to people is like learning. Anybody who shushes you, because they want to listen to the class, doesn’t understand the spirit of the holiday.

Meet a Potential Spouse

If you are single, this is your chance to get somebody to like you. When people are tired, judgment may be impaired. This is why Shavuot in big cities is used by single people to go to Shul and not learn.

If you see the women going to a class, then you go to the class. Act interested and they may think you know something, and you might have a Shidduch. Do not ask any questions. Even sleep deprived people realize levels of dumb.


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