MINḤAH

MINḤAH (Heb. מִנְחָה), the afternoon prayer service, one of the three daily services of the Jewish liturgy. The name of this prayer is derived from Elijah's devotions "at the time of the offering of the evening (minḥah) offering" (I Kings 18:36). One tradition ascribes the institution of this service to Isaac, who "went out to meditate in the field at eventide" (Gen. 24:63), while another attributes the formalization of the three daily prayer services to the men of the great synagogue as substitutes for the daily sacrifices, with the Minḥah prayer taking the place of the lamb sacrificed in the Temple at dusk (Num. 28:8; Ber. 26b). The custom of three daily prayers is also implied by Daniel 6:11. The Minḥah prayer consists of ashrei (Ps. 145, preceded by Ps. 84:5 and 144:15 and closed by Ps. 115:18), the amidah , Taḥanun , and concludes with the aleinu . On Sabbaths and fast days, a portion of the Torah is read before the Amidah (see Torah, Reading of ). In some rites, portions dealing with the daily sacrifices are read before Ashrei. The time for the recitation of the Minḥah prayer begins at the conclusion of six and one-half hours of the day. In calculating this time, an "hour" is one-twelfth of the length of the day. Minḥah prayed at this time is known as Minḥah Gedolah ("major"). Minḥah recited after nine and one-half hours of the day is called Minḥah Ketannah ("minor"). R. Judah set the final time for the Minḥah prayer until midway (pelag) through the time designated for the Minḥah Ketannah, or until one and one-quarter hours before sunset. The law is, however, in accordance with the opinion that the Minḥah may be recited   until sunset, which is calculated to occur at the conclusion of the 12th hour of the day (Ber. 4:1; Ber. 26b–27a). As a precaution lest people forget to pray the afternoon prayer, the rabbis ruled that it is forbidden to commence a large business transaction or sit down to a banquet once the time has begun for the Minḥah Gedolah, without having previously recited the prayer. Likewise, it is forbidden to begin a minor transaction or partake of an ordinary meal after the time for the Minḥah Ketannah (Shab. 1:2; Shab. 9b). It seems that some made it a practice to pray both at Minḥah Gedolah and Minḥah Ketannah. However, asher b. jehiel ruled that it is forbidden to do so (resp. 4:13). According to the Shulhan Arukh (OḤ 234), it is permitted to recite the Minḥah prayer twice, provided one is recited as an obligatory prayer (ḥovah) and the other as a voluntary act (reshut). This, however, is only allowed for the extremely pious who are certain that both their prayers will be recited with true devotion. Otherwise, the additional prayer will be considered an unwelcome addition in accordance with the exhortation of Isaiah: "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me?" (Isa. 1:11). The third meal on the Sabbath (see Se'udah Shelishit ) is usually eaten between Minḥah and Ma'ariv. During daily worship, the Minḥah prayer in the synagogue is usually delayed until near sunset in order that the congregation may assemble to pray Ma'ariv shortly after the Minḥah service is completed (see Magen Avraham to Sh. Ar., OḤ 233:1). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Idelsohn, Liturgy, 118, 145; Elbogen, Gottesdienst, 98f., 117–20. (Aaron Rothkoff)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Minhah — Seph. /meen khah /; Ashk. /min kheuh/, n. Hebrew. the daily Jewish religious service conducted in the afternoon. Also, Minchah. Cf. Maariv, Shaharith. [minhah] * * * ▪ Judaism also spelled  Minha, Mincha, or Minchah,  Hebrew  Minḥa      …   Universalium

  • minhah — min·hah …   English syllables

  • minhah — …   Useful english dictionary

  • CULT — The Israelite cult was a system of ritual acts by which the Israelites, individually and collectively, actualized their particular relationship to the God of Israel. In the pre Exilic period (before 587–586 B.C.E.) this activity took the form of… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • AMIDAH — (Heb. עֲמִידָה; standing ), the core and main element of each of the prescribed daily services. In talmudic sources it is known as Ha Tefillah ( The Prayer par excellence). As its name indicates, the Amidah must be recited standing. Other names… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • HAFTARAH — (Heb. הַפְטָרָה), a portion from the Prophets read after the reading from the Torah (see torah , Reading of) on Sabbaths, festivals, and fast days. On Sabbaths and festivals it is read during the morning service, on fast days at the Minḥah… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • LEVITICUS, BOOK OF — (Heb. וַיִּקְרָא; LXX Λευιτικόν leuitikon), more aptly described by its tannaitic name, Torat Kohanim, the Priests Manual, the third book of the Pentateuch. Leviticus is thematically an independent entity. exodus contains the story of the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • MINHAG — (Heb. מִנְהָג; custom, usage ) from the verb to lead. DEFINITION The word is found in the Bible (II Kings 9:2) meaning the driving (of a chariot) but it was taken by the rabbis to refer to usage. As such, it is used in a wide variety of senses.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • SACRIFICE — IN THE BIBLE In the Bible various verbs are used to designate the act of sacrifice. Two of them, שחט and טבח, are used for the slaughter of animals for both secular (cf. Gen. 43:16; Num. 11:22) and sacred purposes, while the verbs זבח (hence the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • SIKILI, JACOB BEN HANANEL — (13th–14th centuries), rabbi and author. His surname indicates that the family originated in the island of Sicily. In his youth he traveled widely, seeking out every available book dealing with the homiletic interpretation of the Bible. He… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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