Davening Maariv on Succos

When is the earliest time one can daven maariv on Succos? I thought there is a hekesh between Succos and Pesach with the mitzvos of the night requiring one to wait until nightfall. Does this also apply to maariv or can you daven maariv on Succos before nightfall and just do the mitzvos after nightfall? Would be grateful for an answer and sources. Thank you very much. This is a fantastic service!

Answer:

Even on Pesach itself, the only element that requires the fall of night is the mitzvah of matzah. Because kiddush goes together with eating matzvah, we do not make kiddush until nightfall. However, with regard to davening maariv, there is no problem in davening before nightfall, as on every Shabbos and Yom Tov. The same applies to Succos. The Talmudic hekesh compares Succah to Matzah, making eating on the first night of Succos a Torah obligation (like matzah), and obligating eating specifically at night. However, the time of the maariv prayer is unaffected.

Sources (All in Orach Chayim): Tosafos, Pesachim 99b and Rosh ibid.; Shulchan Aruch 472:1; Taz ibid. (concerning kiddush; no mention is made of davening, but the fact that one reaches kiddush at nightfall implies that davening was completed earlier); Rema 639:3;  Mishnah Berurah 639:25; Chayei Adam 157:9.

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