It’s a hectic world out there, and you don’t want to go it alone. First thing in the day, talk with The Boss. When it’s done at night, debrief again. And in the middle of it all, while the traffic still rages, the phones won’t leave you in peace, the kids are tugging at you for their attention, and adrenalin races through every vein—for that, there’s Minchah.
It takes courage to tell the world to stop while you chat with its Maker. And that’s just what makes it so powerful. They say Elijah the Prophet was answered only in his Minchah prayer—because that’s the prayer for which we make the biggest sacrifices.
We inherited the custom of an afternoon prayer from Isaac, the second of the patriarchs. It also serves in lieu of the afternoon sacrifice and incense offered daily in the Holy Temple on behalf of the people.
We inherited the custom of an afternoon prayer from Isaac, the second of the patriarchsFrom approximately half an hour after midday until sunset. Missed the deadline? You can still pray Minchah until nightfall. Click here for exact times.
With a minyan (prayer group), you’ll need about 15 minutes. On your own, about half that.
Minchah minyans are popping up everywhere these days: synagogues, offices, storefronts, restaurants, airport lobbies. Can’t get ten men together? Face Jerusalem from wherever you are, even right opposite your kitchen sink or living-room sofa, and make it a private call.
Wash your hands and open your prayerbook/BlackBerry/Palm Pilot/iPhone, or memory.
Minchah moves from passages related to the daily afternoon service in the Holy Temple into Ashrei (Psalm 145), building up to the nineteen-blessing amidah (silent prayer) recited standing while facing Jerusalem. It concludes with brief penitential prayers (omitted on festive days and occasions) and the “Aleinu” hymn.
When there are ten men, kaddish is recited, and the leader repeats the amidah aloud while the rest answer “Amen.”
For special days (e.g. Shabbat, holidays, fast days), there are special variations. Sometimes the Torah is read. Sometimes certain prayers are added.