- Many authorities say that nowadays the obligation to pray Arvit/Mariv is the same as the obligation for Shacharit and Mincha, while other authorities hold that the obligation of Arvit/Mariv was always an obligation but relative to Shacharit and Mincha there are some leniencies (as to be discussed in other halachas). See footnote. 
Time for Mariv
Eating before Maariv
See the Eating before Davening#Arvit page.
Order of Maariv
- The minhag is to say VeHu Rachum before Maariv. 
- After one answers Barchu with Kavana that one is going to daven maariv now it’s forbidden to talk with others because it’s considered as if one begun the Brachot of Kriyat Shema. 
- Of the 4 Brachot Kriyat Shema only the first one begins with Baruch the rest don’t begin with Baruch because they are considered Bracha HaSamucha LeChevarta. 
- Some have minhag to change Bracha of Gaal Yisrael to Melech Tzur Yisrael however it’s preferable not to change the Bracha. 
- It’s forbidden to interrupt (with speech) between Gaal Yisrael and starting Shmoneh Esrei just like in Shacharit. However, by Maariv it’s permissible to announce Rosh Chodesh or Yaaleh VeYavo between Kaddish and Maariv (which would be forbidden by Shacharit). 
- After the amidah at the evening maariv service, one should wait until the chazan reaches Titkabel in kaddish before taking three steps forward. However, if this would involve a long wait then one may step forward after waiting the time it takes to walk four amot (about seven feet). 
- If one concludes Shomer Amo Yisrael LeAd together with the Shalich Tzibbur one should answer Amen. 
- Hashkiveinu has different endings for Shabbat/holidays and weekdays. One who uses the wrong ending for that particular day has fulfilled the obligation and need not repeat the blessing. 
Baruch Hashem Liolam
- The Ashkenazic Minhag outside Israel is to say Baruch Hashem LeOlam before Shmoneh Esrei of Mariv, however, in Israel the minhag is not to say these pesukim. If someone who lives outside Israel visits Israel he should not say these pesukim and make sure to lengthen his Kerias HaShema in order to finish Birchos Kerias Shema with the Tzibbur. If someone who lives in Israel temporarily leaves Israel he should not say these pesukim unless he is the Shaliach Tzibbur in which case he should. 
- Sephardim don't have the minhag to say Yiru Aynenu.
- The Ashkenazic minhag is to sit while saying Baruch Hashem LeOlam. 
Coming late to Maariv
- If one comes late to Maariv and one is able to catch up to the tzibbur by Shmoneh Esrei if one skips Baruch Hashem LeOlam one should do so and skip Baruch Hashem LeOlam in order to say Shmoneh Esrei with the Tzibbur. After Shmoneh Esrei one should say Baruch Hashem LeOlam without a conclusion of the Bracha. 
- However if one came too late to catch up just start Shmoneh Esrei with the Tzibbur and say Shema with the Brachot after the last Barchu after Shmoneh Esrei. This is all true in a case where one can’t get another minyan afterwards, because if one is able to do so one should do that. 
Waiting for someone to finish Arvit
- If there’s only one person left in shul Davening after Arvit/Maariv at night, one should wait around for that last person so that he isn’t rushed in Davening. 
- Some are strict to wait for the last person Davening even after Shacharit and Mincha. 
- In a shul that’s in the fields one must wait for the last person even after Shacharit and Mincha. 
- However, if the last person Davening is extending his prayers (adding more requests) one doesn’t have to wait for such a person. 
- If the last person Davening entered so late that he couldn’t finish in time to complete Davening with the tzibbur, one doesn’t have to wait for him. 
Arvit of Motzaei Shabbat
- For laws of Atta Chonantanu see Atta Chonantanu
- On Saturday night after the shemoneh esrei, we add viyhi noam and viata kadosh. 
- We repeat the pasuk of orech yamim... twice. 
- When we say the kedusha of viata kadosh we start from there and not uva litzion because the geula will not come at night. 
- One should stand for shuva Hashem and yoshev biseter and then sit for viata kadosh. 
- For laws of Birkat Halevana see Birkat HaLevana
Questions and Answers
Tefilas Maariv by Rabbi Yonason Sacks
- The Gemara Brachot 27b-28a has a long story about the dispute Rabban Gamliel and Rabbi Yehoshua whether Arvit is an obligation (Chovah) or not (Reshut). Abaye rules that it’s an obligation and Rava argues. The Rif 19a, Rosh 4:7, and Rambam 1:6 hold like Rava.
- What’s Arvit being Reshut (non-obligatory) mean? The Rabbenu Yonah (18a s.v. Gemara) quotes the Bahag who holds that Arvit is non-obligatory but after having prayed it one time it is considered obligatory upon that individual.
- However, Tosfot 26a s.v. Taah explains that Arvit Reshut just means that relatively it’s less significant than other prayers and it is pushed aside for some mitzvot. But for no reason one shouldn’t miss praying Arvit. [Rabbenu Yonah, Rosh (Brachot 4:2), and Mordechai (Brachot Siman 91) agree with Tosfot.]
- The Rif 19a quotes the ideas of both the Bahag and Tosfot. However, he concludes that the minhag nowadays is that we have accepted it like was obligatory. Similarly, the Rambam (Tefilla 1:6) writes that even though Arvit is not an obligation like the other prayers, the minhag is that it was accepted like an obligation. [The Rabbenu Yonah 18a s.v. Gemara (at the end) understands the Rif to hold like the Bahag. Also, the Shiltei Giborim (Brachot 19a #1) writes that Rif and Rambam agree with the Bahag.]
- The Bet Yosef 235:1 notes that even though the Rosh seems to agree with Tosfot in Brachot perek 4 Siman 2 later in Brachot perek 4 Siman 7 he quotes the Rif without any argument.
- The Levush 235:1 rules the Arvit is a mitzvah and shouldn’t be missed for no reason (Tosfot) and some say that the minhag is to accept it as a total obligation (Bahag).
- The Tefillah Kehilchata 1:6 writes that Arvit isn’t an obligation like Shacharit or Mincha but nowadays it was accepted like an obligation (Bahag).
- Mishna Brurah 236:1
- Mishna Brurah 236:1
- Mishna Brurah 236:2,3
- Mishna Brurah 236:3
- S”A 236:2, Mishna Brurah 236:9
- Sh"t Rivivot Ephraim 1:176
- BeYitzchak Yikra 236:13
- Sh"t Rivivot Ephraim 1:174
- The Tur 336 writes that originally when the shuls were in the fields where people were afraid to stay there too late. Therefore instead of davening a full Shmoneh Esrei they would recite the 18 Pesukim of Baruch Hashem LeOlam etc. The Tur writes that nowadays there are two different Minhagim as to whether we should say the 18 Pesukim of Baruch Hashem LeOlam etc. and “Yiru” or not. Mishna Brurah 236:5 also writes that the minhag is to say it but some gedolim had the minhag not to say it.
- In most shuls in Chutz LaAretz the minhag is to say these Pesukim and in Eretz Yisrael the Minhag is not too- what should a person who lives outside Israel who goes to Israel do and vice versa? Rav Moshe in Igrot Moshe OC 2:102 (pg 294) writes that the Minhag in Israel not to say it developed from the Talmidei HaGra and Baal HaTanya who both held not to say these Pesukim. Therefore, a person from outside Israel should not say them when in Israel. However, he should make sure to lengthen his Kerias HaShema in order to finish Birchos Kerias Shema with the Tzibbur thereby removing himself from a need to say these Pesukim.
- In regards to a ben- Eretz Yisrael who comes to Chutz LaAretz and intends to return, Rav Nevenzhal 336:2 writes he does not need to say it. Piskei Teshuvos 236:7 adds that if he is serving as the Sheliach Tzibbur then he should say it according to the Minhag of the place.
- Kaf Hachaim 236:12 citing the Arizal
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 70:4
- S”A 236:3, Mishna Brurah 236:11
- S”A 236:3, Mishna Brurah 236:12, Kaf Hachaim Palachi 2:2, Halichot Shlomo 13:13
- S”A 90:15 based on Brachot 5b, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 70:5
- Rama 90:15
- S”A 90:15
- S”A 90:15 based on Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah (Brachot 3a D”H Shnayim).
- Talmedei Rabbenu Yonah (Brachot 3a D”H Shnayim) writes that one only has to wait for the person if he came in with enough time to finish with everyone else, however if when he entered he didn’t have time to complete his Davening with the tzibbur, he shows that he doesn’t mind leaving alone. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 70:5 and Mishna Brurah 90:48 codify this as Halacha.
- Rama 295:1, Mishna Brurah 295:2, Yalkut Yosef Shabbat vol. 1 pg. 442. Tur 295 writes that this is because we want to delay the return of the wicked to Gehenom
- Mishna Brurah 295:1
- Mishna Brurah 295:2
- Yalkut Yosef Shabbat vol. 1 pg. 442. Mishna Brurah 295:1 also writes that one should stand for viyhi noam