Rachie and I recently returned from a visit to Israel where we had a chance to visit some of the excavations around the southern wall of the Temple Mount. We saw the replica of the cornerstone of the southern wall, which bears the inscription that this was the place where a Cohen would stand, and sound the shofar or trumpet to announce the pending arrival of Shabbat.

Shabbat in the Temple was characterized by an extra sacrifice, over and above the regular daily sacrifices. It is described in this week’s portion, known as Musaf. This is reflected, today, in the additional or Musaf service we say on Shabbat.

The Zohar makes a connection between the name Joseph and the Musaf service or sacrifice, both of which are based on the same root Lehosif, meaning ‘to add.’ The Talmud associates the three daily services with the Patriarchs. Abraham’s key time for prayer is the morning. Isaac is associated with afternoon prayer. Jacob is connected with prayer in the evening. Joseph, by his very name, personifies the Musaf prayer. When Joseph was born, his mother, Rachel, immediately took advantage of that blessing to ask for another child, and so she named him Joseph, meaning ‘He will add.’ This was based on the principle that the occasion of one blessing augurs well for additional blessing. Thus the Musaf or addition service which the Jewish people prays on Sabbath and Festivals, is a kind of spiritual bonus which we enjoy during the holy days of the year, that enables us to wish for further blessing.

On the Shabbat, the soul itself has a bonus, called a Neshamah Yeterah, an additional soul. It is granted to each Jew on this day, which enables us to experience a spiritual high, and to feel the benefits of the Shabbat more deeply.

According to Rabbi Elie Munk in The Call of the Torah v.4, p.349 (basing himself on mystical sources) this spiritual exaltation of the additional soul is evoked most powerfully when the congregation sing the Shabbat Musaf Kedushah together.

Let us take advantage of this opportunity today, and sing the Musaf Kedushah with Rabbi Yossi with gusto!

Shabbat shalom!