The name "Mincha", meaning "present", is derived from the meal offering that accompanied each sacrifice offered in the Temple (Beit Hamikdash) .
The Talmud states that Mincha was originated by Isaac, and described in Genesis 24:63 by the words "Isaac went out to converse in the field." where the verb "converse" (שוח suwach) refers to with God.
Time frame for recitation
Mincha is different from Shacharit and Maariv in that it is recited in the middle of the secular day. Unlike Shacharit, which is recited upon arising, and Maariv, which can be recited before going to sleep, Mincha is the afternoon prayer and as a result of this, many Mincha groups have formed in workplaces and other places where many Jews are present during the day.
Mincha may be recited from half an hour after halachic noontime. This earliest time is referred to as mincha gedola (the "large mincha"). It is, however, preferably recited after mincha ketana (2.5 halachic hours before nightfall). Ideally, one should complete the prayers before sunset, although many authorities permit reciting Mincha until nightfall.
While it is permissible to recite mincha after shkiah (sunset), the Mishnah Berurah states that is preferable to recite mincha without a minyan before shkiah than to recite it with a minyan after shkia.
Mincha on a weekday exclusive includes prayers found at Shacharit.
Prayers of Mincha include the following:
- Uva Letzion (on Shabbat and Yom Tov only)
- Torah reading (on Shabbat and public fast days only)
- Tachanun (omitted on Shabbat, Yom Tov, and certain other festive days)
- Tzidkatcha Tzedek (on Shabbat only; omitted on days when Tachanun would be omitted if it were a weekday)
Sephardim and Italian Jews start the Mincha prayers with Psalm 84 and Korbanot (Numbers 28:1-8), and usually continue with the Pittum hakketoret. The opening section is concluded with Malachi 3:4. Ashkenaz (German Jews) and Polin (non-Hasidic Polish Jews) begin with a Ribon HaOlamim, then a Ribon HaOlam, then Korban HaTamid, and then Ashrei.
On Yom Kippur, Uva Letzion (and Ashrei according to Ashkenazim) are omitted from Mincha, and it begins with the Torah reading. Ashrei and Uva Letzion are a part of the Ne'ila service.