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If you realized that you didn't yet daven minchah and it's past shekiyah, when is the latest that you can begin praying the Amidah? I'm looking for different people's cutoffs.

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Are you looking for the most lenient opinion or different people's cutoffs? –  Double AA Sep 23 '13 at 2:36
    
Basically, if you haven't yet prayed, can you? So, different people's cuttoffs. –  Ramin Sep 23 '13 at 3:02
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Anecdotally, I learned from my teachers that it was ok to daven mincha until tzeis but not to say tachanun after shkia –  yoel Sep 23 '13 at 6:06
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

YU Torah online has a good summary.

The subject is disputed by the Vilna Gaon and Rabbeinu Tam. The first allows only up till sunset; the second up to when the stars appear.

Mishna Berurah 233:14, limits the leniency to recite Mincha until tzeit hakochavim. He cites the opinion of P'ri Megadim, Eshel Avraham 233:7, who rules that one cannot actually recite Mincha until tzeit hakochavim, but rather until Rabbeinu Tam's shekiat hachama which is a few minutes before tzeit hakochavim. [R. Ovadia Yosef, Yechaveh Da'at 5:22, cites numerous Acharonim who disagree with P'ri Megadim and maintain that according to Rabbeinu Tam, one may recite Mincha until tzeit hakochavim.] Mishna Berurah then notes that even those who normally follow the opinion of Rabbeinu Tam should nevertheless show deference to the opinion of the Vilna Gaon and recite Mincha before astronomical sunset.

Nevertheless, Mishna Berurah, Sha'ar HaTziun 233:21, rules that even according to the Vilna Gaon, there is room for leniency in a pressing situation. R. Ovadia Yosef, op. cit., notes that although the Vilna Gaon himself does not allow one to recite Mincha after shekiat hachama, one can argue that within the opinion that shekiat hachama occurs at astronomical sunset (i.e. the Vilna Gaon's opinion) one can still maintain that latest time for Mincha is at tzeit hakochavim. According to R. Ovadia Yosef, the question of whether evening (for the purpose of Mncha) begins at shekiat hachama or tzeit hakochavim is not necessarily connected to the question of whether one follows Rabbeinu Tam or the Vilna Gaon.

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Your quote does not seem to support your initial premise –  Double AA Sep 23 '13 at 17:43
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The first Lubavitcher Rebbe says one can be lenient to pray Mincha during Bein Hashmoshos (twilight) which in Russia during the equinoxes it's about 30 minutes after sunset).

see here http://chabadlibrary.org/books/adhaz/piskey/17.htm (2nd to last paragraph)

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Does one have to be chabad to follow this shitah? –  Ramin Sep 25 '13 at 12:54
    
@Ramin "Being chabad" (whatever that means) is always irrelevant. One should follow the psak one receives from one's rabbi. –  Double AA Nov 3 '13 at 20:45
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The first 6 minutes after Shkia is a safek if it is Shkia yet. Therefor it's a sfek sfeika because it might not be Shkia and even if it is maybe the halacha is like rabeinu tam.

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If it is six minutes after Shkiya, sounds like Shkiya happened 6 minutes ago. What's the doubt? –  Double AA Dec 22 '13 at 22:30
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Several years ago, when I was saying Kaddish for my father A"H, the shul where I was at for Mincha was waiting for the last men to arrive for the minyan. I noticed that it was getting pretty late and I mentioned to one of the rabbis that it was dark outside and it was almost too late to daven Mincha. He told me, "Don't look outside". I carry that bit of wisdom with me.

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What makes that wisdom? I think if you closed the windows and waited until midnight, it would be clear not to daven mincha. So not looking earlier won't make it allowed either. –  YEZ Jan 21 at 4:42
    
@YEZ, this is based on the principle of אי אפשר לצמצם (according to some understandings of that principle). –  Yishai Jan 21 at 21:44
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@Yishai I don't know what you mean. The idea that if you close your eyes and pretend reality isn't happening is אא"ל? –  YEZ Jan 21 at 21:45
    
@YEZ, That you don't measure so precisely, as humans can't and the Torah allows for this. For example, the Minchas Elazar says this is the heter for wearing Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam at the same time even though neither is actually in the middle of the head. Of course it has limits (not until Midnight in your example) but it isn't some unheard of idea in poskim either. Those that weigh their Matzos on scales Pesach night or davening vasikin looking at an NTP syncronized clock are not holding of this principle. –  Yishai Jan 21 at 21:51
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It applies to things which are not possible as אי אפשר would imply. Not something you choose not to attempt to be accurate about. –  YEZ Jan 21 at 21:52
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