I slept through Maariv! How do I Daven?

I slept through Maariv! How do I Daven?


ויפגע במקום וילן שם כי בא השמש

Q: I was exhausted one evening so I went to sleep “for a few minutes”. Anyway, those few minutes turned into several hours, and I found that I woke up about forty five minutes before sunrise – “netz hachama”. That was about half an hour after dawn – “alos hashachar”. Problem was I realized I hadn’t davened mariv yet. Was there any way I could daven mariv?

A cautionary tale

A: Well, firstly, your story is clearly an illustration of why Chaza”l forbade one to sleep or eat before davening mariv. The halacha is one may not eat a meal before Mariv (eating some “shehakol” or fruit, or up to a k’beitza of bread, is muttar) or sleep even if just for a bit as one may miss davening Mariv on time. [There may be an eitzah to set up a “shomer”, i.e. a guard to make sure one davens mariv, but it is not that simple halachically that it would suffice in this case.]

Someone who has a minyan that he always davens at, would be permitted to eat before mariv, as there is no reason to worry that he will go to sleep before mariv. [That wouldn’t permit sleeping though.]

The Answer

Now that you in fact slept and woke up after alos hashachar the halacha is not simple as well. The time one may daven mariv is up until alos hashachar. [Some maintain that l’katchila one should daven by “chatzos” – halachic midnight.] The time of reciting Krias Shma of the evening is up until chatzos. B’dieved the time to recite Shma at night is until alos hashachar.

You are an Oneis (chained)

If someone didn’t recite Shma and daven mariv until alos hashachar, he missed the time to do so (and would be required to daven Shachris shmone esrei twice).

Nevertheless, if one was an “oneis”, he was in a situation where he couldn’t daven until then, i.e. if he wasn’t feeling well enough to daven and recite Shma, the halacha is one can actually say Shma and the first three brachos of Birchos Krias Shma, until Netz Hachama. “Hashkivenu” should not be said as it’s not the time most people go to sleep.

Many poskim maintain that one who fell asleep as in your case is considered an oneis and this halacha applies to him, as well.

The Various Opinions

Regarding Shmone Esrei, the Mishne Brura paskens that after alos hashachar there’s no point in davening shmone esrei, as it’s not the time for mariv anymore – after alos, halachically it’s already the day. Since the time of mariv is the same time the parts of the korbonos of the previous day were burnt on the mizbeach, after alos hashachar those korbonos could not be placed on the mizbeach anymore.

The Aruch Hashulchan, and others, however, maintain that in the case of an oneis one may daven shmone esrei of mariv until netz hachama as well. Since there is a machlokes between the gedolei haposkim, it would be advisable that in such a case, one daven shmone esrei as a “tefillas n’dava” with a “tnai” – i.e. daven shmone esrei and have in mind that if the halacha is to daven shmone esrei in this case then that’s what he’s doing, and if the halacha is not to, his shmone esrei is not an obligatory tefilla rather one offered on his own volition.

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