8 or 9 Things to Know from Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita About Maariv

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    By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5TJT.com

    Yes, the following is from Rav Chaim Kanievsky – really.

    1. The minhag is to recite vehu rachum before maariv. In some places they they recite shir hamaalos hinei borchu etc, (Shoneh Halachos 236:1).
    2. After Borchu it is equal to being like in the middle of the paragraph. Therefore, one must be careful not to speak after borchu even before he started the bracha (right after borchu) – if he plans to daven maariv with the tzibbur.  In the abundance of our sins – many people stumble in this (ibid 2).
    3. Ideally, one must recite the Krias Shma immediately upon Tzais HaKochavim. If he got delayed until half of the night, – even though it is not proper to do so because of zrizin makdimim l’Mitzvos – people should do Mitzvos right away, nonetheless, it is not forbidden except for if he is eating or involved in a distracting activity. After chatzos, however, it is forbidden to delay.  If he violated it and recited the shma later up until dawn – he has still fulfilled the Mitzvah of Krias Shmah.
    4. It is forbidden to eat (substantial food) or sleep – even a little amount before Tzais HaKochavim. If one asked another person to remind him to daven Maariv it is permitted to eat even if zman krias shma at night arrived.  Mere tasting of fruit or even a kbaya of Pas is permitted in every case (ibid 5).
    5. When Tzais arrives it is forbidden to learn until one has davened – if he is davening at home alone b’yechidus. If he is davening with a tzibbur or if he asks his friend who is not learning to remind him to daven – it is permitted (ibid 6).
    6. Even in Maariv you should place the bracha of ge’ulah next to the Shmoneh Esreh. One may not talk in between.  It is, however, permitted to announce yaaleh v’yavoh or al hanissim between kaddish and the Shmoneh Esreh. In Shacharis it always forbidden (ibid, Siman 236:5)
    7. Tzais HaKochavim in Bnei Brak is: during a weekday they daven 40 minutes after shkiya On Motzai Shabbos it is 45 minutes.
    8. Ideally one should daven Maariv before chatzos (halachic midnite). If it is not possible and the choice is to daven maariv alone without a minyan before chatzos or after chatzos with a minyan – it is preferable to daven before Chatzos without a minyan (daas Noteh).

    The maybe ninth thing to know is that one should be careful to say, before maariv, yehi ratzon milfanecha hashem elokai v’elokei avosai – sh’k’shaim sh’hayisi ba’afeilah v’hotzaisani l’orah – kain totzi’aini m’afailah l’orah – May it be Your Will before You Hashem my G-d, and the G-d of my fathers – that just as I was in darkness and You took me out and placed me in light, may You also [continue] to take me out of darkness to light (Shoneh Halachos 1:20).

    These have been culled from the new Rav Chaim Kanievsky siddur entitled Siach Sifsosainu – a two volume siddur (one is for Shabbos and moadim – the other is for chol and chol hamoed.)

    The Siddur also come in a smaller size that fits into a Tallis/Tefillin bag. It is the same siddur, but is named Mishkenosecha Yisroel. It is named after  Elisheva Kaplan and Yisroel Levin aleihem Hashalom. Mishkenosecha is the same gematria as Elisheva Basya (plus 10 for the ten letters in her name) and Yisrael following is for her chosson. It is truly a beautiful siddur and brings the family chizuk.

    It is a remarkable siddur that should be in every home.  It was put out by Rav Elyashiv’s grandson Reb Lipa Israelson and carefully reviewed by Rav Chaim Kanievsky.  His comments to Perek Shira are at the end of the chol volume.

    The author can be reached at [email protected]

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