Siddur Contents: Shabbat & Holiday Liturgy

This description of the Shabbat and holiday morning service includes most of the elements that appear in weekday services as well.

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Upon the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE by the Romans, the Rabbis of antiquity moved quickly to transform the rites and rituals of the now-defunct sacrificial cult into a spiritually based religion predicated on prayer and observance of the Torah's commandments. In place of the daily and festival animal sacrifices, the Rabbis established the recitation of the Amidah, the central prayer of Jewish worship, as a substitute based on a creative interpretation of the prophetic utterance, "Let the [utterings of our] lips compensate for the bulls [which used to be sacrificed]" (Hosea 14:3).

Based on a one-to-one correspondence of Amidahs in place of animal sacrifices (except for the evening or ma'ariv service, which has no ancient sacrificial parallel), the Rabbis established an additional Amidah for Shabbat and holidays to be recited after the Torah reading. This is called the Musaf, or additional service, and corresponds to the additional animal sacrifice offered on these days. Consisting of the same opening and closing set of blessings, the central portion of the Musaf Amidah for Shabbat or holiday deals once again with the themes of the day, making specific mention of the animal sacrifices that were offered as the additional offering of that day. (Today, many liberal communities have eliminated the Musaf service.)

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Rabbi Daniel Kohn

Rabbi Daniel Kohn, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1991. He is the author of several books on Jewish education and spirituality who currently writes and teaches throughout the San Francisco Bay area.