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What is Musaf?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht


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A. Musaf means “added” or “addition” in Hebrew, denoting the extra Tefillah added to the Shabbat and holiday services.

B. Although it may be prayed anytime during the day, Halachah prefers that Musaf be recited immediately after the Torah reading, which, on Shabbat and holidays, is right after Shacharit.

C. In our current exile, it replaces the Musaf sacrifice offered in the Holy Temple on Shabbat and holidays, just like other daily Tefillot replace the daily Temple offerings.

What are the contents of Musaf?

1. Be Happy

The Musaf service is essentially the Musaf Amidah (see below), but according to halachah, before an additional Amidah is recited, one is to praise G-d first. This is accomplished by reciting Chapter 145 of Psalms, commonly known as ashrei, after its’ opening word, which means “happy,” as in the beginning sentence “ashrei yoshvei beitechah,” or “happy are those who dwell in Your house.”

Since the musaf sacrifice cannot be offered today... we pray the musaf tefillah instead, which talks about... how we long for Moshiach, when we’ll be able to offer the musaf again
2. The Amidah

The Musaf Amidah follows the standard three-section Amidah format, sandwiching the middle section between the universal three-part Introduction (see What is Shacharit?) and the equally universal three-part Conclusion.

3. The Sacrifices

If you’ll see C above, you’ll see that tefillah is the ritual replacement for Temple sacrifices. Since the Musaf sacrifice cannot be offered today, because there is no Temple, we pray the Musaf tefillah instead, which—you guessed it—talks about the Musaf sacrifices and how we long for Moshiach, when we’ll be able to offer the Musaf again. It also talks about Shabbat and/or the holiday(s), because those are the only times that it’s said.

TAGS: musaf, mussaf


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Mitzvot » Prayer » About

(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
The Messiah. Moshiach is the person who will usher in an era of peace and tranquility for all of humanity when there will be no jealousy or hate, wars or famine. This is a fundamental Jewish belief.
Jewish Law. All halachah which is applicable today is found in the Code of Jewish Law.
Highlight of every prayer, recited silently while standing. Weekday Amidah consists of nineteen blessings, Sabbath and holiday Amidah contains seven blessings.
Morning prayer service. One of the three prayers a Jew is obligated to pray every day.
The additional prayer service added (after the morning prayers) on Sabbath, Biblically mandated holidays and the first day of the Jewish month.
Prayer. The Jewish Sages instituted three daily prayers, and an additional prayer on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.
Plural form of Tefillah (Prayer). The Jewish Sages instituted three daily prayers, and an additional prayer on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.
The Book of Psalms. One of the 24 books of the Bible. Compiled by King David; mostly comprised of poetic praise for G-d. A large part of our prayers are culled from this book.
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.