Praying Shacharis and Mariv (morning and evening prayers) is listed as one of the things "sheodom oychel peiroisehem..." (A person eats of the fruit in this world but principle is left to be enjoyed in the next world). Yet it's Shacharis and Mincha (afternoon prayers) that are obligated in the Torah. So why not mention Mincha but Mariv instead?

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    off the cuff, might it be because of the centrality if the shma? – rosends Jan 4 '13 at 15:16
  • @Dan Indeed and Shema is the only Torah obligation in Davening – Double AA Jan 4 '13 at 15:19
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    @DoubleAA, I wouldn't say that so definitively. The Zemanim are not set in the Torah, but the concept of Davening is DeOraitha according to some (most?). – Seth J Jan 4 '13 at 15:31
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    Izzy, your question would be much improved if you would justify your assertions that praying shacharis and maariv is among the things "sheadam ochel perosehem..." and that shacharis and mincha are Torah obligations. – msh210 Jan 4 '13 at 15:33
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    @Izzy, the point is that this site isn't just for you to get an answer to the question that's bugging you, but to allow others to learn more. So backing up what you state as obvious is important for the sake of the next person who reads your question and is learning this concept for the first time. That is why we have also edited the question to make it both easier to find in an internet search and easier for beginners to understand. – Seth J Jan 4 '13 at 16:11

It seems to be that it is not necessarily praying Shachris and Maariv, but rather "hashkamas beis hamidrash" at those times. The verse is thus not calling out davening but synagogue attendance.

Since Mincha is often prayed "on the go" or as an interruption to the work day, it would stand to reason that it is more common to attend communal prayers in the morning and the evening.

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    I thought of this, but then why not say Beit Kenesset? – Double AA Jan 4 '13 at 17:01
  • Good point - perhaps since the Gemara says that one engaged in full time Torah study need not leave the beis midrash to daven, our Gemara here is simply speaking to the assertion that talmud Torah kineged kulam. – yoel Jan 4 '13 at 17:24

Nothing to do with prayer. "Going to Torah study in the morning and evening", i.e. before and after work.

  • I was in the middle of writing an answer like this. +1 – Double AA Jan 4 '13 at 18:17
  • Is it really nothing to do with prayer? – yoel Jan 4 '13 at 18:41
  • I strongly suspect you're correct, but a source would be nice. – msh210 Jan 4 '13 at 19:25

I'm having problems with the premise of the question: There is authority to say that Mincha is the most important service. Rabbi Chelbo at Berachos 6b states that Mincha was most important because Elijah's prayer was only answered with a Mincha offering (see I Kings 18:36-37). Today, Rabbi Berel Wein, argues that Mincha is "perhaps the most important and meaningful prayer service of the day" precisely because it is inconvenient, must be done in a narrow window of time, and interrupts the work day. Because it comes in the middle of the work day, it "is an oasis of spiritual time in a tough workday." Shachris and Maariv, however, are possible to be prayed outside of difficult time constraints.

One could argue that Maariv is least in importance because it doesn't have a direct connection to the daily Tamid offering. Rashi to Berachos 26b. But see Rambam Hil. Tef. 1:6 and the Tur (Orach Chaim 235). But it and Shachris are tied to the time-bound mitzvot of saying the Shema.

So, I really don't think you can play favorites and say one service is more or less important than the others.

  • Your right, as I replied to DoubleAA above, my question is more "why are only Shacharis and Mariv under "sheodom oychel peiroisehem..." but not Mincha". Should I edit the details to take out the comparative parts? BTW I like your insights here :) – Izzy Jan 4 '13 at 19:24

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