Shabbat

A taste of eternity every week...

Just before sundown Friday marking the beginning of Sabbath,

Erev Shabbat is a joyful blessing to the family, guests and to God. In a traditional Jewish home, ushering in the Sabbath is the high point of the week.

 

Bread and candles
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Candles are lit and the woman of the house offers a prayer welcoming in the Sabbath.

Blessings over the children are led by the parents. The Father reads a blessing over his wife and portions of Proverbs 31. Blessings are then said over the wine (or grape juice) served with the meal, and over the challah (a special, braided sweet bread served only on Sabbath).

Then the best meal of the week is served. (If you are a Gentile, remember Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house.)

After dinner there is a discussion, usually from the portion of scripture that would be taught the next morning in synagogue, or the text for the Sunday morning sermon. This is a time to pass on the faith from parents to children. (Read Deuteronomy 6 together.) Prayers of thanks for the meal are said.

The Aaronic blessing is prayed over all those gathered around the table. The evening traditionally ends with singing around the table.

Shabbat bread

Resources to get you started:

Additional reading suggestions:

Rev. Philip Bottomley, "Which Day Should We Observe Sabbath?" (downloadable here in PDF format)
 

Walter Brueggemann, Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now, revised ed. (Westminster John Knox Press, 2017)
 
Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2008)
    
Marva Dawn, Keeping the Sabbath Wholly: Ceasing, Resting, Embracing, Feasting (Eerdmans, 1989)
 
Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man (New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1951)

"Blessed art thou, O Lord our God,
King of the universe,
Who has sanctified us
with his commandments,
and commanded us to be
a light to the nations."

Sabbath blessing
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Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands.
Psalm 119:66