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Arvit of Motzaei Shabbat & Ata Chonantanu

The Daily Halacha Moment - Arvit of Motzaei Shabbat & Ata Chonantanu 📙

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן

‎העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


What are some customs of Arvit in motzaei Shabbat?

Why do we recite Ata chonantanu?


It is proper to pray Arvit later than the exact time in order to add to the Shabbat. However, one does not have to wait until the time of Rabbenu Tam in order to pray Arvit. [1]

In many communities is customary to recite several chapters of Tehillim on Motzaei Shabbat before praying Arvit. [2]

It is a segulah for success and protection to slowly recite the phrase of “Vehu Rachum” and “Barechu” at the beginning of Arvit on Motzaei Shabbat.[3]

During the Amidah of Arvit on Motzaei Shabbat, one is obligated to recite an extra paragraph called “Atah Chonantanu” in the berachah of Atah Chonen. This is considered as one has done Havdallah, and allows one to perform melachah. However, even so, the Chachamim established that one must also recite Havdallah later on, on a cup of wine.[4]

One should begin Atah Chonen, until the word “binah,” and then recite the paragraph of Atah Chonantanu, and end with the words “Vechonenu me’itecha chochmah binah ve’daat” and the berachah.


It is customary that when the chazzan recites the words “Atah Chonantanu” out loud when he is reciting his Amidah. This is done in order to remind people to recite Atah Chonantanu in their teffilah as well. [6]


[1]. Ben Ish Chai, Vayetze, 2:1; Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, book 1, vol. 4, p. 711. See also in Shemesh U’Magen 1:5 who states that it is customary to wait to recite Arvit twenty minutes after shkiyah.

[2]. This custom is brought in the Avudarham, Seder Motzaei Shabbat and in Seder HaYom, Minchah shel Shabbat; Keter Shem Tov, vol. 1, p. 465. See also in Yabia Omer, vol. 6, O.C. 30:4 and Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, book 1, vol. 4, p. 711 who state that one may even recite these chapters of Tehillim at night.

[3]. See Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 379 in footnotes who brings in the name of Seder Rav Amram Gaon 54a and others who bring this custom. The reason for this is because this is the time that the wicked return to Gehenom, and as long as one has not completed reciting Barechu, their souls do not return to Gehenom. See also in Birkei Yosef 293:2 and Kaf HaChaim 293:12. The Rama 293:3 states that the reason for doing so is in order extend Shabbat as much as we can.

[4]. Gemara, Berachot 33b; Shulchan Aruch 294:1.

[5]. Birkei Yosef, Shiyurei Berachah 294:1; Kaf HaChaim 294:2. See also in Chazon Ovadia, Pesach 2, p. 12 who states that this is the Sephardic custom today, even though the Bet Yosef seems to imply otherwise.

[6]. Kaf HaChaim, Palagi, 31:9; Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, book 1, vol. 4, p. 746.

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