Halacha for Monday 14 Sivan 5779 June 17 2019

Praying Arvit on a Voluntary Basis

We have mentioned in the previous Halacha that if one was in the midst of reciting the Amida prayer and then suddenly remembers that he has already prayed this prayer, one must stop praying immediately, for all of one’s blessings are considered blessings in vain. One may not intend for the remainder of one’s prayer to be a voluntary/donated prayer, for a voluntary prayer is only applicable when one recites the entire prayer on a voluntary basis; however, one cannot pray half a prayer on an obligatory basis and the other half on a voluntary basis.

Indeed, the Rambam (Chapter 10 of Hilchot Tefillah) likewise rules in accordance with the majority of the Poskim that one who begins praying and then remembers that he has already recited this prayer must immediately stop praying and may not conclude it on a voluntary basis.

Nevertheless, the Rambam writes that if this happens during the Arvit prayer, i.e. if one began praying the Arvit Amida and then suddenly remembers that he has already prayed Arvit, one may, in fact, continue one’s prayer on a voluntary basis. The reason for this is because there is a distinction between the Shacharit and Mincha prayers versus the Arvit prayer, for the Gemara states that Arvit was only established by our Sages as a voluntary prayer and not as an obligatory prayer. Thus, whenever one prays Arvit, this is not being done on a fully obligatory basis and one is merely praying on a voluntary basis. Thus, if one remembers in the middle of reciting the Arvit prayer that one has already prayed, one may continue this prayer, for even beforehand, this prayer was likewise only on a voluntary basis.

On the other hand, Rabbeinu Mano’ach rebuffs the Rambam’s opinion, for although our Sages originally established the Arvit prayer as a voluntary prayer, later, this prayer was established in an obligatory manner and every Jewish man must pray Arvit every day. If so, nowadays, there is no halachic distinction between the Shacharit, Mincha, and Arvit prayers. Some write that the Ra’avad agrees to Rabbeinu Mano’ach’s approach in that the entire Jewish nation has accepted the Arvit prayer as an obligatory prayer and there is no reason to differentiate between one prayer and another.

Nevertheless, Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch writes in his commentary on the Rambam, Kesef Mishneh, that this reasoning is insufficient to rebuff the words of the Rambam, for originally Arvit was established as a voluntary prayer and thus ultimately, it does not share the same status as the other prayers which were established as completely obligatory prayers already in the times of our Sages and there is thus room to uphold the opinion of the Rambam in this regard. Therefore, it seems that the ruling on this issue follows the Rambam and if one begins praying Arvit and then remembers that he has already recited this prayer, one may continue one’s prayer on a voluntary basis.

However, in his Shulchan Aruch, Maran makes no mention of a distinction between Shacharit and Mincha and Arvit. It would therefore seem that Maran means to rule in accordance with the opinion of Rabbeinu Mano’ach and the Ra’avad, unlike the Rambam. The Magen Avraham, Rabbeinu Yehuda Ayash, and others interpret the words of the Shulchan Aruch in this manner.

Nonetheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Ra’avad does not disagree with the Rambam regarding this issue and he writes that even according to the Ra’avad, one may continue one’s Arvit prayer on a voluntary basis. He proceeds to quote several other Poskim who rule likewise and write that even according to Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch, the Halacha follows the opinion of the Rambam and if one begins reciting the Arvit Amida prayer and then remembers that he has already recited this prayer, one may continue with the Amida prayer on a voluntary basis.

Summary: One who begins the Arvit prayer and then remembers that he has already prayed Arvit may continue reciting the Amida on a voluntary basis.

 

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Customary Order of Rosh Hashanah

It is customary to eat certain symbolic foods during the two nights of Rosh Hashanah which signify good fortune for the entire upcoming year. It is therefore customary to eat black-eyed peas, pumpkin, leek, spinach, dates, pomegranates, apples dipped in honey, and meat of a sheep’s head on the......

Read Halacha

The Blessings on Thunder and Lightning

One who sees lightning recites the blessing, “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam Oseh Ma’aseh Bereshit.” One who hears thunder recites the blessing, “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam She’Kocho Ugvurato Maleh Olam.” Until When Can On......

Read Halacha

“And Your Camp Shall Be Holy”

Question: May I pray when my child is walking around the house in a dirty diaper? Answer: We derive from the verse in the Torah, “And your camp shall be holy”, that one may not recite words of Torah, pray, or perform any acts of holiness (for instance donning Tefillin) in the restroom......

Read Halacha

Women and the Shabbat Meals-The Custom of Maran zt”l

Question: Are women obligated to eat all three Shabbat meals as are men? Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have explained the primary laws regarding the Shabbat meals, including the obligation to eat three meals on Shabbat: One on Shabbat night, one on Shabbat morning, and one on Shabbat after......

Read Halacha


The Laws of Mentioning “Mashiv Ha’Ruach”

We Begin Reciting “Mashiv Ha’Ruach” “Mashiv Ha’Ruach U’Morid Ha’Geshem” is a praise we recite to Hashem during the winter months within the “Mechayeh Ha’Metim” blessing of the Amidah as is printed in all Siddurim. We begin recitin......

Read Halacha

Using Frozen Bread for “Double Bread”

We have already discussed that there is a Mitzvah to recite the Hamotzi blessing during the Shabbat meals on “double bread,” i.e. two loaves of bread. It is fairly common that one does not have two loaves of bread for this Mitzvah and would like to join a frozen loaf of bread from the fr......

Read Halacha

Speaking Between Washing One’s Hands and the “Hamotzi” Blessing

Question: Is one permitted to speak between washing one’s hands and reciting the Hamotzi blessing? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (42a) states: “Immediately following hand-washing, one must recite the blessing.” The Rishonim disagree as to the explanation of this Gemara......

Read Halacha

“Double Bread”

In the previous Halacha, we have explained the laws of Seuda Shelishit and would also like to discuss the laws of women regarding Seuda Shelishit. However, since this issue is connected to the laws of women and “double bread” on Shabbat, let us first discuss the basic laws of “doub......

Read Halacha