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When do I pray Maariv?

by Rabbi Herschel Finman

  

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Maariv, the evening prayer, is prayed at night. There is a discussion in the Talmud as to when night begins. The accepted opinion is tzeit hakochavim—when three medium size stars appear in the sky. Because it will not be completely dark at tzeit hakochavim, many people are careful to wait until 72 minutes after sundown, in accordance with the opinion of the medieval scholar Rabbeinu Tam.

There is a discussion in the Talmud as to when night begins. The accepted opinion is tzeit hakochavim—when three medium size stars appear in the sky
There is another opinion in the Talmud that for the purposes of the Maariv prayer, “night” begins some time before sunset, after the “plag haminchah”. See What is Plag Haminchah? for more details.

Click here to find the times for tzeit hakochavim and/or plag haminchah for any date and any location.

Ideally one should pray the Maariv prayer before (Halachic) midnight. If one didn't pray Maariv by midnight, they may do so untill dawn1

  

Footnotes

  • 1. See Tractate Brachot 26a ff. Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chaim 135:1.

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Prayer » About

Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Maariv
Evening prayer service. One of the three prayers a Jew is obligated to pray every day.