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What is big about the earlier mincha time and what is small about the later mincha time? Also, why does the term plag mincha make sense? It would seem to be a term that refers to the point midway between mincha gedola and mincha ketana, but it really is the midpoint between mincha ketana and shkiah (sunset).

  • P'lag hamincha literally means division of mincha. I don't see why the actual meaning seems less reasonable than the one you propose. – msh210 Feb 27 '15 at 0:49
  • @msh210 Fair question. I see it like this. If you are splitting mincha, it would be logical to split m. gedola and m. ketana. You are not splitting mincha when you pick a point halfway between m. ketana and shkia. – Yehuda W Feb 27 '15 at 1:03
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Mincha Gedola is three hours long thus it is the big Mincha. Mincha Ketana is 2 1/2 hours long thus it is the small Mincha. Regarding Plag Hamincha it is the time in between Mincha Ketana and Shekiya, which is half of the time of the Mincha remaining. It does not mean the half time between the two Minchas as there is no Halachic significance to that time. However there is halachic significance to Plag Hamincha which is between Mincha Ketana and Shekiya, regarding how early one can make Shabbos, regarding according to some to Daven Maariv already.

http://ph.yhb.org.il/02-24-03/

וקראו למנחה הראשונה 'גדולה' מפני שזמנה ארוך יותר – שלוש שעות, והשניה שזמנה שעתיים ומחצה נקראת 'קטנה'

  • I've heard this too. Do you know of a source? – Baby Seal Feb 27 '15 at 1:07
  • Based on naive logic, one could argue that the later mincha time should be called mincha gedola because the the korban tamid, the final offering of the day, was brought then. Before that only private minchas were brought. – Yehuda W Feb 27 '15 at 1:12
  • Perhaps sof mincha (end of mincha) or plag davening would make more sense (to me) than plag mincha. Or any of a host of other terms that could be used to refer to the late point in the daytime period. Thus the question: Why the term plag mincha? – Yehuda W Feb 27 '15 at 1:18
  • Well sof mincha is shekiya. so plag is halfway from the time of mincha ketana which according to most poskim is the optimum time to first pray mincha. – Gershon Gold Feb 27 '15 at 1:38
  • Your quote doesn't support any of your claims. It says Mincha Gedolah is bigger because it's 3 hours long instead of Mincha Ketana which is 2.5. That's not about time left in the day at all. – Double AA Feb 27 '15 at 4:59
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According to the Schottenstein Edition of Berachos, 26b2 note 24, "the earlier portion, called mincha gedola, "greater minchah" [because the greater portion of the day remains -- see Perishah, Orach Chaim 232:5], and the latter portion, known as minchah ketana, "lesser minchah" [because only a small portion of the day remains]."

The gemara there (as noted by the ntes 28 and 29 on 26b3) discuss plag mincha achrona and kama and how the plag, half-way mark, depends on if you mean plag of gedolah or ketana.

  • The Artscroll explanation might be consistent with the phrase "בעוד היום גדול", which is kind of awkward to the modern ear, if "גדול" is a way to refer to how much day (or other quantity?) there is left. I thought "גדולה" in this case, like the "רבא" of "קידושא רבא", just meant "earlier" or "first". I have a source for that somewhere. . . – WAF Dec 26 '18 at 19:10

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