Question:

We find that in fact reciting Shemona Esreh of maariv is optional but rishonim and achronim describe it as obligatory. Well, if it has attained the standard of an obligation, then certainly chazaras hashatz should be required. It cannot be both obligatory and optional at the same time, especially in the days before siddurim existed. But if despite its categorization as obligatory as mincha and shacharis there was never chazara shashatz, EVEN BEFORE there were siddurim, then certainly now when we DO have siddurim chazaras hashatz should be unnecessary even for mincha and shacharis.
And if it really is optional, then we have no obligation to recite it at all.

Answer:

 You are right in a way- if it is now considered an obligation, why isn’t there chazoras hashatz? The Eliyahu Rabba, (also brought in the Mishna Berura 137-1), answers, that although we accepted to daven maariv as if it is an obligation, however in essence it is still a minhag and it isn’t enough to me “matriarch” the tzibbur, and say chazoras hashatz.

Tags: chazaras hashatz maariv

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3 Responses to “If Maariv was accepted as an obligation why isn’t there Chazoras Hashatz”

  1. Thank you for your reply. However, what could be a bigger tircha than to require literate Jews who have ample siddurim in different languages to go through a chazaras hashatz for shachris and mincha seven days a week 365 days a year?! And an extra five minutes or less at maariv shouldn’t be any different. And of course if it is merely a minhag of reshus then there really is no obligation to say it at all.

    • The main reason for chazoras hashatz was in order to be motzei those who don’t know how to daven, however there are other reasons. The seforim bring that chazoras hashatz accomplishes more for the person’s tefilos than the actual SE. They also say that while the regular SE has to be said quietly because of kitrug of the malachim, but chazoras hashatz is on a much higher level and even though it is said out loud the malachim can’t harm it!
      Regarding maariv although it started off as a minhag (not obligatory), but now it is already is, and it isn’t just a minhag of reshus.

  2. However, our halachas are determined from the Torah by Chazal. If we do things because of ulterior explanations we will have to comply with all the hundreds or thousands of non-obligatory customs. But this seems to be a circular discussion because if maariv cannot be simultaneously optional and obligatory according to Talmudic law, then as an optional act for any individual Jew we understand why there is no chazaras hashatz and never was. But nowadays even for mincha and shacharis chazaras hashatz is merely a custom and a presumable tircha for the tsibbur, and can therefore be eliminated where people wish so.

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