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one reason one might not do so is that the blessings of shema were instituted by the rabbis and with a safek d'rabanin one is often linient against a safek d'orysa (bracha levatala)

one reason one might do so is that blessings themselves are connected with the fulfilling of the mitzvah in the most ideal way.

If one is in doubt whether they had already recited maariv should they say the blessings of shema with the shema? If not what should the order of maariv look like exactly?

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    Under what circumstances could one be in doubt whether they had already recited maariv? – Avrohom Yitzchok Sep 21 '18 at 8:39
  • @Avr Maybe they were a bit drunk? Maybe they have beginnings of dementia? Maybe they don't know much about Judaism and just read from the book without understanding what they said? Maybe a funny crossing the dateline case? Maybe they aren't sure if it was real or they dreamed it? – Double AA Sep 21 '18 at 11:51
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If he is unsure if he recited Shema, he should recite it with its blessings (OC 67).

If one is unsure if one had recited the Amida, one should recite it and intend that it should be a voluntary prayer if one had already said it (OC 107:1). Some say this isn't necessary for Arvit which is fundamentally a lower level obligation, but most don't distinguish (Mishna Berura ibid., Arukh HaShulchan :10).

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