FAQ’s on Tefillas Maariv



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    Shifra Vepua

    FAQ’s on Tefillas Maariv

    In connection to last week’s parsha that discusses the life of Yaakov Avinu, we present a collection of halachic essays and Q&A’s on the prayer Yaakov established – Maariv. By HaRav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, Mara D’Asra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights • Full Article

    Early Maariv

    There are two major halachic positions about the appropriate time to daven Maariv: one is tzeis hakochavim, nightfall, when three stars appear in the sky, and the other is an earlier time, referred to on calendars as plag hamincha. The halacha is that one may follow whichever position they prefer.

    However, one must be consistent and not alternate between the two positions, a situation referred to in halacha as tartei d’sasrei (an internal contradiction). If a person davens sometimes Mincha after plag hamincha, they should always wait to daven Maariv until tzeis hakochavim. (If a shul has difficulty arranging a minyan for a later time, there is room for leniency.)

    On Erev Shabbos, however, a person may daven Maariv early even if they usually daven Mincha after plag hamincha because of the mitzva of tosefes Shabbos, adding on to Shabbos—as long as on that day the person does not do a tartei d’sasrei. Nonetheless, there are those who are particular to daven Maariv after tzeis hakochavim on Erev Shabbos as well. Chabad custom is to set aside time to study Chassidus before Kabbolas Shabbos, so that, usually, even Lechu Neranenah is recited after nightfall. Halacha2G0 #173

    What would be preferred, to daven Maariv early with a Minyan or to daven b’yechidus after tzeis?

    If you davened Maariv in the past after tzeis, you should continue doing so – even if it means not davening with a Minyan – as long as you continuously are makpid to do so.

    Ideal time for Maariv

    In general, from what time can one start davening Maariv l’chatchila?

    The ideal time for davening Maariv is after the emergence of three small stars. Three medium stars appear — according to the Alter Rebbe — when the sun is approx. 6 degrees below the horizon. Three small stars can be seen when the sun is approx. 6.6 degrees below the horizon (in other words, in New York, a few minutes later).

    In simple words, it’s not a set exact number of minutes, rather it changes throughout the year. There are computer programs and apps that can calculate this information for you depending on the location and date. #2517*

    Early Maariv on Motzei Shabbos

    I go to a Sephardic shul to share words of Chassidus on Shabbos afternoon and they daven Maariv earlier. Can I daven with them before Shabbos ends? If yes – how early? If yes, is this l’chatchila?

    If it’s already tzeis hakochavim, you may daven with them. (See previous Q&A for what is considered tzeis hakochavim for this purpose).You must however be careful not to do any melachauntil the time of Motzoei Shabbos.If however they daven even earlier and you are always particular to wait until tzeis hakochavim, you should not daven with them, and even rather daven b’yechidus. See above link. #23456*

    What is the earliest one can daven Maariv on Motzoei Shabbos?

    Tzeis Shabbos occurs at tzeis kochavim ketanim (when small stars are visible), and the Shiur of tosefes Shabbos (required addition to Shabbos) is several minutes later (see Seder Hachnasas Shabbos in the Alter Rebbe’s Siddur and the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, OC 293:1) who writes until kochavim ketanim can be seen close together).

    Maariv should not begin before this time so as not to cause community/family members to start any melacha/hachana before that time.

    This time is after the zman of 6.6 degrees plus 4 minutes. In 770, the minhag is to always wait until 43 flat minutes after sunset pass. In many places, the accepted practice is to wait until the zman of 8.5 degrees, in order to end Shabbos uniformly with many other kehillos that end at that time.

    Maariv may be done from plag hamincha only in real cases of oness or shaas hadchak. Otherwise, it should not be davened until the time that Shabbos has ended. #13436*

    Yiru Eineinu

    Should I answer Amen to the bracha of Baruch Hashem (Yiru Eineinu) said in a Nusach Sefard Minyan between Hashkiveinu and Shemone Esrei of Maariv?

    Any interruption is forbidden between concluding the bracha of Hashkiveinu and starting Shemone Esrei – the Amida with the exclusion of Kaddish. Therefore, according to our minhag, we do not say the pesukim of V’shamru on Shabbos or Baruch Hashem during the week, nor do we answer Amen to that bracha out of concern that it is considered an interruption. Even a silent interruption is considered an interruption. Therefore, one should think about Geula or Tefilla [while the minyan is saying Baruch Hashem].

    In practice, one should drag out Hashkiveinu and conclude after the Chazan finishes the bracha of Yiru Eineinu. #11767*

    Maariv on a flight crossing the International Dateline

    When flying from LA to Melbourne on a Monday night flight, if I cross the dateline before chatzos (or even after chatzos, but before alos), do I need to daven a second Maariv? Also, do I repeat Shemone Esrei to make up for Tuesday Mincha?

    You should daven Maariv only once, and then daven Shacharis after it becomes light, by which time it is Wednesday morning (due to crossing the dateline).

    Explanation: The zmanim for tefilla are determined by the alternating periods of daylight and darkness. The fact that the day of the week or date has changed when crossing the dateline does not create any new obligation to daven. Therefore, you should not daven Maariv twice during the same period of darkness. Similarly, it is not considered as if you skipped any tefilla, and there is no reason to daven again.

    Have a safe and easy journey! #4615 


    *References are available for this Halacha on: www.Halacha2Go.com and www.AskTheRav.com

    Please note that these halachos apply in general situations, if you are unsure whether the halacha applies to your particular situation, please consult a Rav.

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    FAQ’s on Tefillas Maariv



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