Now that it’s summer and I don’t have school, I’m having difficulty getting up in the morning. I know I should be going to synagogue each morning, but I always end up rolling over and waking up after 12 PM. I’ve tried going to sleep earlier, but that hasn’t helped.

I even recently learned the beginning of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, which stresses the importance of “getting up like a lion.” That didn’t help either.

Any ideas?


You mention learning this idea in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, the abridged Code of Jewish Law. What you might not have seen, however, is the way this appears in the original Code.

After the discussion about “getting up like a lion,” Rabbi Moshe Isserles (the “Rema”) inserts the following note: “When retiring at night, one should be aware before whom he lies.”

Now isn’t that strange? We’re talking about waking up—not sleeping. What’s this tidbit about going to sleep doing here in the discussion regarding getting up?

The chassidic master Rabbi Meir of Premishlan explained: If you went to bed like a horse, don’t expect to get up like a lion. But if you go to bed like a lion, knowing full well before whom you lie and what He wants from you, then you will be able to enthusiastically arise the next morning to serve Him.

Let’s talk practical. Yes, it begins with going to sleep at the right time. But also important is reciting the bedtime Shema properly before going to sleep. Say the words carefully, think about the way your day went, and plan for a productive tomorrow.

The last thing on your mind before going to sleep also makes a big difference. Go to sleep thinking about the Yankees, and the synagogue may not be the #1 priority the next morning. But if you finish your day by reading an inspiring story about a tzaddik or listening to a chassidic melody, you’ll wake up inspired. Trust me, it works.

A few other simple tips:

  • Keep the alarm clock far away from your bed.
  • Avoid the snooze button. Once you give in to it even once, you’ve already lost.
  • Schedule a packed morning. It can be a study partner, job, or basketball game . . . but have a reason to get up.

Give it a try. I’d love to hear from you again in a week.