Learning Torah tonight (eve of Dec 25th) - Nittel Nacht
Many Chasidim have a Minhag not to learn Torah tonight (Nittel Nacht). It is pretty clear that the real reason for this was that it was very dangerous for Jews to leave their house that night for fear of being attacked. Therefore, they could not go to the Beis Medrash to learn. Until very recently Seforim were very expensive and most people did not have private seforim available in their house to learn from. Therefore, the minhag evolved not to learn Torah. Today this would seem to be a Minhag Shtus, there is no real reason for a person to refrain from learning Torah. All the other rationalizations that I have seen are to be blunt very weak:
- The Torah learned should not serve as a merit for Jesus's soul
- As a sign of Aveilus
- There is a tremendous כח הטומאה that night
I will be learning tonight like every other night.