By Robert Chazan
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Additional info for Ajs Review: Spring, No 1
Yet, asked R. Jacob, "now that the short nights are beginning, to be followed by the longerones [of winter],how shallwe determinethe hourof midnightor the third watch, for . . when it is midnight for us, in other places a third of the night will not yet have passed, and vice versa. . "42R. 43Both Italianauthorsflirtedwith the idea of midnight but shied away from even suggesting that prayer or study be regularly pursued at that inconvenient hour. Duringthe periodin whichthey werewriting,the predawnrite of Shomrim la-Boker was flourishing in Italy.
See Steinschneider, CB, no. v. " On the author and his role, together with R. Benjamin haLevi of Safed, in the dissemination of Tikkun Hazot and other Lurianic devotions in Italy, see Scholem, "Attitude of Jewish Rabbis to Sabbatianism," p. 62, and idem, Sabbetai Sevi, pp. 370, 478-479. 53. For the foundation of Verona's Hazot, see Menahem Navarra's introduction to Seder Tikkun Hazot (Mantua, 1746) and Leopold Zunz, Die Ritus des synagogalen Gottesdienstes (Berlin, 1919), p. 152. On the Ferrara Hazot Laila confraternity, note the Seder ve-Tikkun for the nights of Shavuot and Hoshana Rabbah it published in Mantua, 1655.
After the afternoon and evening prayers, he reports, those present would read from the Book of Samuel and other texts in which the prophet was mentioned. And at midnightall the lightsin the cavewereextinguished,andtheysat in the darknessrecitingTikkunHazot in a lachrymosevoice. After they completed the Tikkunthey studiedsome Zohar, and then the drink called coffee was brought,quitehot, andgivento eachperson .... Afterwardssongsandhymns are recited . . 35 R. Gedaliah's testimony points not only to the use of coffee in nocturnal rituals, but to the existence of an almost formalized coffee break, dividing according to the tradition cited there Zacuto had once fasted for forty days in order to forget the Latin he had acquired in his youth, the Italian edition of Nairone's work would have been accessible to him.
Ajs Review: Spring, No 1 by Robert Chazan