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Ahavat Olam

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Ahavat Olam (Hebrew: אהבת עולם, Eternal love) is the second prayer that is recited during Maariv. It is the parallel blessing to Ahava Rabbah that is recited during Shacharit, and likewise, is an expression to God for the gift of the Torah.[1]

In the Ashkenazic rite, Ahava Rabbah is recited in the morning and Ahavat Olam is recited in the evening as a compromise. Sephardim recite Ahavat Olam at both Shacharit and Maariv.[2] The debate over this recitation occurred between the Geonim. Amram Gaon ruled according to the current Ashkenazi custom, whereas later geonim - Saadia Gaon, Sherira Gaon, and Hai Gaon - called for reciting Ahavat Olam at both prayers.[3]


The theme of Ahavat Olam is that God provides love in good times and in bad. Nighttime, when there is darkness, is a time associated with danger. Nevertheless, God provides protection at night, and the sun always rises in the morning.[4]

Ahavat Olam is also seen as the blessing over the mitzvah of the recitation of the Shema.[5]


  1. ^ Richard N. Levy, Śiaḥ śarfe ḳodesh, Hillel, the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, page 62
  2. ^ Ronald L. Eisenberg, The JPS guide to Jewish traditions, Jewish Publication Society, p.412-13
  3. ^ My People's Prayer Book: Welcoming the night: Minchah and Ma'ariv By Lawrence A. Hoffman, Marc Brettler, page 63
  4. ^ Norman Lamm, The Shema: Spirituality and Law in Judaism, p.103
  5. ^ Yehuda Amital, Jewish values in a changing world, p.136