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September 14, 2010 / howgood1

Ma’ariv – The evening service

Ma’ariv is the first of the three regular prayer services that are recited daily (although on Shabbat and Holidays there may be additional services).

Here is a paragpraph describing the history of the Ma’ariv service from the Jewish Virtual Library:

ARVIT (Heb. עַרְבִית; “evening” prayer), one of the three regular daily services. The popular name Ma’ariv (going back at least to the 16th century) is derived from the occurrence of this word at the beginning and end of the first blessing preceding the *Shema. Its recital was originally regarded as optional (Ber. 27b, following R. Joshua against the view of Gamaliel II) since the evening service did not correspond to any set Temple sacrifice (unlike the morning and afternoon services). Tradition attributed the institution of Arvit to the patriarch Jacob (based on Gen. 28:11; cf. Ber. 26b). In the Talmud, opinions differ as to whether a third daily prayer is obligatory or optional but Psalms 55:18 and Daniel 6:11 are cited to support the view that prayers must be said three times daily. In common with the other services, its recital is the duty of the individual even outside the synagogue and congregational service.

Psalms 55:18 – “Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice”

Daniel 6:11 – And when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house–now his windows were open in his upper chamber toward Jerusalem–and he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

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