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Thought for the Day: Shabbos Mussaf... We Are Davening For What!?

I had a disturbing Shabbos morning.  Still riding the high of having inaugurated Shabbos with my brand new becher (did I mention that I actually made it?), I hit a bump in the road during the silent sh'mone esrei of mussaf.  I was davening along as usual, when I got into the paragraph asking that it should be HaShem's Will to bring us to our land where we can again fulfill our obligations and אֶת־מוּסַף יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת הַזֶּה/ the additional offering of this Shabbos day...

Wait... wait.. the additional offerings for this Shabbos day!?  First of all, I thought, I am way, way outside תחום שבת (Shabbos domain).  No matter what opinion you hold for size of cubit and whether the תחום is 2000 or 12,000 of 'em, 6,182 miles (the distance from Chicago to Yerushalyim) is way too far.  I mentioned that to a fellow davenaer (after davening was over, silly) and he looked at me quizzically (a facial expression I see not infrequently).  "You are worried about תחום שבת?  How about the fact we don't have the Beis HaMikdash now?"   Truthfully, I probably stepped right over the obvious question and thought about תחום שבת first because I am just now learning the laws of עירוב תחומים, but I tried to wiggle out: Hey!  Rashi learns that the 3rd Beis HaMikdash will come straight now prebuilt from heaven; but I'll still be outside תחום שבת!

Anyway, we now have two very good reasons to simply say אֶת־מוּסַף יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת and omit the הַזֶּה.  Rashi (from ספר הפרדס הגדול... I never heard of it, but it is quoted by סדור המפורש; see image at end), has yet a third reason: once the time of mussaf has passed, the ability to fulfill that obligation evaporates.  Well, I was davening k'vasikin; but it was still after 2:00PM in Yerushalyim, we were getting tight.  Rashi, therefore, says to omit the word הַזֶּה.

Great!  One eensy little problem: all the siddurim are printed with the word הַזֶּה and I am pretty darn sure that at least one of those publishers also knew that Rashi (the publisher of סדור המפורש, for example), and yet still printed it with the הַזֶּה in place.  I learned when I was yet a wee snip of a graduate student that when you find discover obvious that no one else has noticed... better look again.

It turns out that there is a Rav mei'Pano that understands that phrase as written.  Namely, that we will be obligated to bring a mussaf offering for each and every Shabbos, Yom Tov, and Rosh Chodesh that we were in exile and therefore unable to bring our obligatory offerings.  The truth is, that answer is very difficult to understand, if for no other reason than the one brought by Rashi; which is, of course, a gemara, as Rashi almost never says anything on his own.

So what do I do now?  What's printed in the siddur.  I don't understand why that's the correct thing to say, and I have lots of good reasons to think it should be different.  None the less, if I only did things I understood, I probably still wouldn't be able to ride a bike.  If I changed every little thing to be in accordance with my (oh so limited) knowledge, I would have electrocuted or poisoned or otherwise off'd myself long ago.  So let me amend my statement: I don't yet understand; but I am not giving up.

Image of footnote from סדור המפורש so you can look up the sources yourself.  Please let me know if you find that Zohar and if it makes things any less muddy.


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