Daily Halachic Times


Halachic Times are updated on a daily basis.

The chart on the right is from the website myzmanim.com

Here is a summary of the basic terms and concepts that relate to halachic times posted on the EB site.  

Many observances in Jewish law are performed at specific times during the day. These halachic times are called "zmanim".  Calculation of these times depends on the various astronomical phenomena of the day for the specific locale, in the case of Ezra Besssaroth - Seattle.

Below you will find the times, their meaning and some of their associated mitzvot:

Alot Hashachar:
Dawn. Fasts begin at this time. According to Torah law, dawn marks the beginning of the day.  All mitzvot associated with daytime hours -- such as hearing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, taking the Four Species on Sukkot, the daily morning recitation of the Shema, or hearing the Megillah on Purim - start at Alot Hashachar.

Earliest time for Tallit and Tefillin:
The halachic description of this time is "when one can recognize a familiar acquaintance" from a distance of approximately six feet.  This time falls out between Alot Hashachar and Netz. (see next entry)

Netz Hachamah:
Sunrise. This is the ideal time to recite the Amida.  If a person, due to a trip or other pressing reason, must leave earlier and cannot wait until Netz, he or she could pray as of Alot Hashachar.

Latest Shema:
The Torah commands us to recite the Shema twice daily.  Though women are exempt from the Shema (as it is a time-bound positive commandment), they are encouraged to accept upon themselves "the yoke of Heaven" and recited at least the first verse of the Shema.

Someone who misses the time of Shema should still recite the Shema with the berachot/blessings until halachic midday (Hatzot) 

Latest Tefillah:
Whereas one has three halachic hours (into the day) to complete the Shema, he has four halachic hours to complete the Amida/Silent Devotion. It is preferable for me to pray in a quorum (minyan) in Kahal. You can see our current service times by pressing the "Sephardic Tefillah" button on the home page, and by checking out the top "Post-it" note on the left hand side of the home page. Women should also pray the Amida.  If, for some reason, you miss the deadline of four hours into the day, you are encouraged to recited the Amida until Halachic noon (Hatzot).

Midday; the halfway point between sunrise and sunset. 

Minha Gedola:
Half a shaah zmanit after Hatzot. This is the earliest time one may recite minha, the afternoon prayer.

Mincha Ketana (does not appear on the Myzmanim chart):
Nine and a half shaot zmaniot hours after sunrise. According to certain halachic authorities, it is preferable to wait until this time before praying minha.

Plag Haminha:
One and a quarter shaot zmaniyot before sunset. According to Rabbi Yehda this is when halachic nighttime begins. This is also the earliest one may bring in the Shabbat on Friday afternoon. During the summer months, EB members recite Arvit as of Plag Haminha, relying on the view of R. Yehuda.  That said, one who recites Arvit this early must repeat all three paragraphs of Shema after nightfall.

Candle Lighting time:
The accepted custom is to light Shabbat and Yom Tov candles 18 minutes before shekiah (sunset).  

Sunset. The latest time for minha, the afternoon prayer, and all mitzvot associated with daytime hours. B'dieved (if one missed this time) one may still recite minha, and do all "daytime mitzvot" until nightfall.

The Jewish 24 hour day begins at nightfall. However, the technical definition of nightfall is unclear. It can be as early as Shkiah, or as late asTzeit Hakochavim. Therefore, the time following shkiah and before tzeit hakochavim is called bein hashmashot. Many laws relate to this period and it can be categorized as either the previous or the next day.

Tzeit Hakochovim:
The time when three stars are visible in the sky and nightfall is complete. Earliest time for Arvit (evening service) according to the Chachamim. Earliest time for reciting the evening Shema and Counting the Omer.  

Fast End:
There are differing opinions when Nightfall takes place. Out of consideration for people's comfort, and considering that the fast days are rabbinic decree, not Torah law, we rely on a an earlier opinion concerning the end of day fasts, except for Yom Kippur, which is a Torah obligation.  EB ends fasts 30 minutes after shekiya.

Shabbat End time:
Shabbat and festivals end, and "weekday" work may resume, at this time. Yom Kippur ends at this time, as well.

Sha'ah Zemanit:
Proportional hour, i.e. an hour according to halacha. Total daylight hours divided by 12.

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