Judaism’s Daily Prayer Times
When are the hours of prayer in Judaism?
In Judaism, the hours of prayer are structured around specific times of the day. These are the primary daily prayer times:
- Shacharit (Morning Prayer): This is said in the morning, traditionally corresponding to the time of the morning Temple sacrifice. The ideal time to begin Shacharit is just before sunrise, but it can be recited until midday.
- Mincha (Afternoon Prayer): This is said in the afternoon. Its ideal time is in the late afternoon, just before sunset, but it can be started shortly after midday.
- Ma’ariv (Evening Prayer) or Arvit: This is the evening prayer and can be recited after nightfall (when three stars are visible). Some communities have a custom to pray Ma’ariv earlier, shortly after sunset.
- Mussaf: This is an additional prayer that’s said on the Sabbath and on festivals. It corresponds to the additional offerings made in the Temple on these days. It’s recited after the Shacharit.
- Ne’ila: This is a unique prayer service that’s only said on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is recited as the day is closing, just before the final sounding of the shofar.
It’s worth noting that while these are the traditional times for prayer, many modern Jews, especially those who are less observant, might have variations in their prayer times or may not observe all the prayer times.
Where do they get this from?ChatGPT
The structured prayer times in Judaism are derived from both the Torah (the Five Books of Moses) and the Talmud, a central text of Rabbinic Judaism. Here’s a brief overview of the sources:
- Shacharit (Morning Prayer): The Torah mentions the patriarch Abraham praying in the morning (Genesis 19:27). The Talmud, in Berakhot 26b, associates Abraham with the morning prayer based on this verse. The morning sacrifice (Tamid) in the Temple also sets a precedent for the morning prayer.
- Mincha (Afternoon Prayer): Isaac, Abraham’s son, is associated with the afternoon prayer. Genesis 24:63 mentions Isaac going out “to meditate in the field toward evening.” The Talmud in Berakhot 26b uses this verse to associate Isaac with the Mincha prayer. Additionally, the afternoon Tamid sacrifice in the Temple is another basis for this prayer.
- Ma’ariv (Evening Prayer): Jacob, the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, is associated with the evening prayer. Genesis 28:11 mentions Jacob encountering a place and staying there for the night. The Talmud in Berakhot 26b associates Jacob with the evening prayer based on this verse.
- Mussaf (Additional Prayer): The word “Mussaf” means “additional” and it refers to the additional sacrifices that were offered on the Sabbath and on festivals, as described in the Torah, particularly in the Book of Numbers.
- Ne’ila (Closing Prayer on Yom Kippur): This unique prayer service on Yom Kippur does not have a direct source in the Torah in the way the regular daily prayers do. Its origin is tied to the additional services and unique nature of Yom Kippur as the Day of Atonement.
The Talmud, in tractate Berakhot, is where a lot of the discussions and establishment of the formalized prayer structure is found. The Talmudic sages interpreted the biblical texts and used them, along with oral traditions, to establish the foundations of Jewish law and custom, including the specifics of daily prayers.
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