Before going to sleep at night we say "Kriyat Shema Al HaMita", the bedtime Shema. Most people say the bracha "HaMapil" along with the first paragraph of Shema and other verses that were chosen to guard over us during sleep, and to enable us to fall asleep with words of Torah on our lips. The question we will address is whether it's permitted to talk after saying the bracha or not.
The Rema in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Haim 239,1) writes that one should not eat, drink or talk after saying Kriyat Shema at bedtime, rather one should go to sleep immediately, as it says "Reflect in your hearts while on your beds, and be utterly silent" (Tehillim 4,5 – said at the end of the bedtime kriyat shema). This would make sense according to the usual rules of not having any separation between a bracha and doing the action of the bracha (a hefsek). Just as one cannot speak between saying the bracha over doing a mitzvah (blowing the shofar, putting up a mezuzah etc) and the action – so too here, one should make sure that there is no break between the bracha over going to sleep (hamapil) and falling asleep. Of course, sometimes it might take a while to actually fall asleep, but lying silently waiting for sleep to come is not considered a break (Mishna Brurah, ibid 3). This line of thought is supported by the wording of the bracha, which is in the first person "who casts the bonds of sleep upon my eyes and slumber upon my eyelids…". (See Biur Halacha ibid). In other words, this bracha is over the act of going to sleep, and care should be taken to make sure that it is adjacent to the sleep – just like all other brachot we say over different mitzvot and actions.
On the other hand the Chayai Adam (35,4) raises the possibility that this is not a bracha over the act of sleeping at all. Rather it is a bracha of praise for the great natural process Hashem created in His world called sleep. Just as we say the morning brachot (including "who gives strength to the weary") even when they don’t apply directly to our personal situation (i.e. even if we are personally exhausted) – so too here, we could say the bracha over going to sleep even if we personally may not be falling asleep at that instant (although everyone agrees that only those actually planning to go to sleep say this bracha, and not someone who is planning to stay awake all night). Hence, this is not a bracha over the action of going to sleep, but rather a bracha said at bedtime praising the creation of sleep in general. If so, then the concept of a hefsek does not apply.
Bottom line – most opinions rule that one should try hard to make sure that one will not have to talk between the bracha and actually falling asleep. A good idea may be to say all the rest of Kriyat Shema, except the bracha, when first getting ready for bed, and hold off with just the last bracha of HaMapil before switching off the light and closing your eyes. However, if one has a need to talk after the bracha, many rabbis permit this, based on the logic presented above that this is a general praise of sleep rather than a bracha on the act of falling asleep at that instant. (See Piskay Tshuvot 239,3).שיעורים נוספים ניתן למצוא בקטגוריות הבאות: ברכות
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