As discussed in answers to this related question, we repeat the amida of shacharis and mincha to aid those who do not have a siddur, have not memorized the brachot, or who cannot read, but we don't do so at maariv because maariv is a tefillas reshus ("optional" prayer).

However, the needy davener just described seems to present a need for saying the amida out loud. There must be subtle gradations to bracha levatala. We pray the maariv amida despite it being reshus, but we do not do so out loud to help those who cannot daven on their own. What should the needy davener do? Not pray? Why do we not say the amida out loud for such people?

  • I don't see how this isn't a duplicate of the linked-to question. It's asking the same as that other question and noting that the answers there are insufficient. See mi.yodeya.com/help/no-one-answers. cc @DoubleAA
    – msh210
    Mar 30, 2015 at 16:38
  • @msh210 He seems to accept that the given answers are canonically correct given their sourcing. Couldn't I ask: "Tosfot answer question X. Can someone explain his answer? This is what I don't understand about it." (I don't know what's not to understand about the answer in this case, but that's neither here nor there.)
    – Double AA
    Mar 30, 2015 at 16:52
  • beta.hebrewbooks.org/tursa.aspx?a=oc_x946
    – Double AA
    Apr 29, 2015 at 22:08

2 Answers 2


Maariv is originally a tefillat reshut (optional prayer), so if one couldn't, one didn't. Mincha and Shacharit were already obligatory which is why the chazzan's repetition was enacted for those who couldn't on their own. Presumably even if your argument were otherwise a justification of instituting a chazarat hashatz for optional services, the tircha d'tzibura ([time-]burden on the congregation) involved would preempt such an enactment, since the would-be maariv-prayer truly has no requirement to daven maariv whatsoever. Perhaps he could instead devote his time to studying the prayer service (and even eventually leran the service) or engage in spiritual meditation. Since maariv (at least for him/her) is not an obligation, he could find other ways to serve G-d.

  • 1
    Tosfos said that it's not completely optional. It's just that one can do another mitzva over maariv. The proof is that the Gemara says that if one missed Maariv, he has to Daven Shacharis twice. Why repeat a prayer you can skip in the first place? Apr 9, 2015 at 5:49
  1. See Tur Orach Chayim 237 :

    ומתפללים הצבור בלחש ואין שליח צבור מחזיר התפפילה. וכתב הרמב"ם ז"ל (הלכות תפילה פרק ט' הלכה ט') הטעם לפי שאינה חובה. ‏

The congregation pray silently and the Shaliach Tsibut doesn't repeat the prayer, the reason, wrote Rambam, is that the prayer of even is not mandatory.


He does not repeat the evening Shemoneh Esreh out loud, since the evening service is not obligatory. Therefore, he should not recite blessings in vain, for there is no one who is obligated [to recite these blessings] whose obligation he would fulfill [by his recitation].

Bet Yossef adds in name of Rashba: Despite that Geonim said that if someone prayed one time Arvit, he made it a duty for himself, this is only for people who know the prayer and has no need for repetition. The Bach added that there is kabbalistic reason.

  • If repetition out loud would be in vain since it is not obligatory for any person, why is not the recitation by the individual in vain?
    – Yehuda W
    Aug 24, 2016 at 21:37
  • @YehudaW Great Kashia. I have no Teruts. Need to think
    – kouty
    Aug 26, 2016 at 5:12

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