Shabbat morning prayers often commence at a later hour than do weekday morning prayers, giving us the opportunity to enter a meditative and prayerful frame of mind. Spend a few minutes delving into a chassidic text and enter the luminescent world of the soul. Need a chassidic text? Print one out (before Shabbat) from our Chassidic Texts Section.
Shabbat morning prayers follow the same basic pattern as the weekday prayers – Pisukei d'Zimra ("Verses of Praise"), then the Shema with its preceding and following blessings, followed by the Shabbat Amidah (silent prayer). Throughout, we add various extra hymns and Psalms in honor of Shabbat. The Amidah is followed by Psalm 92, and then the Torah reading and the special-for-Shabbat Musaf service.
More about the Torah reading: The Five Books of Moses are divided into 54 portions. One portion (a parshah) is read every Shabbat. (On certain weeks, two portions are read, and there are several times a year when a special extra portion, related to the time of year, is added.) For this week's parshah, click here.
Throughout, we add various extra hymns and Psalms in honor of ShabbatThe procedure of the Torah reading is as follows: The Ark is opened and the prayer leader takes a Torah to the reading table. Seven men are called, successively, to "come up" as the reader chants one of the parshah's sections. (The honor of being called to the Torah is referred to as an aliyah. For more about aliyahs, click here.) An additional aliyah, called the maftir, is given to the person who then reads the haftorah, a selection from the Prophets that reflects the theme of the parshah. For more about the Torah reading, click here.
Following the Torah reading, brief prayers are recited requesting G‑d's blessings for the congregation, the Torah is returned to the Ark, and the Musaf prayer commences. The Musaf, which literally means "addition," is (contains?) an additional Amidah in lieu of the additional offering which was brought in the Holy Temple on Shabbat. The Musaf Amidah is followed by the Ein k'Eloheinu hymn and the Aleinu.
The combined morning/Musaf synagogue prayer service lasts, on average, three hours.
The Shabbat afternoon prayer is relatively brief: a few introductory recitations, a brief Torah reading (from the beginning of the following week's parshah), and the Shabbat Amidah, followed by brief closing prayers.