By Robert Chazan
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Extra info for Ajs Review: Spring, No 1
V. "Zacuto, Moses," EJ vol. 16, cols. 906-908. Although COFFEE, COFFEEHOUSES, AND NOCTURNAL RITUALS 29 "the land of Israel and the kingdom of the Turks" is hardly surprising. For, as he testified in a letter published by Scholem some forty years ago, he had performed the midnight Tikkun "innumerable times" with the Safed emissary in Italy, R. 33 Zacuto presumably heard from the latter about the manner in which Jews of the East prepared themselves for the performance of the midnight rite. He may even have witnessed R.
Wilhelm, "Sidrei Tikkunim, "in 'Alei 'Ayin: The Salman Schocken Jubilee Volume (Hebrew) (Jerusalem, 1948-52), pp. 125-129, and Scholem, "Tradition and New Creation," p. 139. For Galante's date of death, however, which Wilhelm places prematurely at 1560, see David Tamar, Studies in the History of the Jewish People in Eretz Israel and in Italy (Hebrew) (Jerusalem, 1972), pp. 104-106. R. Hayyim Vital expressed the view that anyone who avoided sleeping for even a minute on the night of Shavuot would be assured of surviving the coming year.
Here we return to the matter of coffee. This beverage, of which Italians only began to learn in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries49 (when the Jews among them were first hearing of Tikkun Hazot), was by then at home throughout the Islamic eastern Mediterranean. "5The period in which the predawn rite of Shomrim la-Boker emerged in Italy and spread rapidly among its Jewish communities was thus one in whichcoffeewas at first unavailablein that countryand then exotically rare. Although Pietro della Valle had reported from Constantinople that "whendrunkaftersupperit preventsthosewho consumeit fromfeeling sleepy,"few then in Italywerein a positionto changetheirnocturnalhabits with the aid of coffee.