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Shabbat:
Shabbat Evening Home Rituals


Shabbat: Table of Contents | What is Shabbat? | Special Shabbats


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Shabbat (שַׁבָּת) is the seventh day of the Jewish week and is the day of rest and abstention from work as commanded by God. Like all other Jewish holidays, Shabbat begins at sundown on Friday.

- Setting the Table
- Lighting Candles
- Evening Services
- Blessing the Children
- Kiddush
- Washing Hands
- HaMotzi

Setting the Table

The sabbath table should be set with at least two candles (representing the dual commandments to remember and observe the sabbath), a glass of wine, and at least two loaves of challah. The challah loaves should be whole, and should be covered with a bread cover, towel or napkin.

Lighting Candles

Candles should be lit no later than 18 minutes before sundown. For the precise time when shabbat begins in your area, consult the list of candle lighting times provided by the Orthodox Union or any Jewish calendar.

At least two candles should be lit, representing the dual commandments to remember and to keep the sabbath. The candles are lit by the woman of the household. After lighting, she waives her hands over the candles, welcoming in the sabbath. Then she covers her eyes, so as not to see the candles before reciting the blessing, and recites the blessing below.

Barukh atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melekh ha-olam,

asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu

l’had’lik neir shel shabbat (Amein)

Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe,

who sanctifies us with his commandments, and commands us

to light the candles of Shabbat (Amen)

The hands are then removed from the eyes, and she looks at the candles, completing the mitzvah of lighting the candles.

The Evening Services

Evening services should be attended in the synagogue or performed in the home between candle lighting and dinner on the evening of the sabbath. The services include the special Kabbalat Shabbat prayer, whcih symbolically welcom in the shabbat.

Blessing the Children

Before dinner, it is customary for parents to bless their children. Traditionally, they lightly place their hands on the child's head while reciting the following blessing:

For Sons:


For Daughters:


Kiddush

Kiddush is recited while holding a cup of wine or other liquid, no less than 3.3 ounces. If wine or grape juice is not used, you should substitute she-ha-kol niyeh bidvaro (by whose will all things come to be) for borei p’riy ha-gafen (who creates the fruit of the vine).















English Translation:

And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day. The heavens and the earth were finished, the whole host of them And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and done.

Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. (Amen)

Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who sanctifies us with his commandments, and has been pleased with us You have lovingly and willingly given us Your holy shabbat as an inheritance, in memory of creation. The shabbat is the first among our holy days, and a remembrance of our exodus from Egypt. Indeed, You have chosen us and made us holy among all peoples and have willingly and lovingly given us Your holy shabbat for an inheritance. Blessed are You, who sanctifies the shabbat (Amen)

Washing Hands

After Kiddush and before the meal, each person in the household should wash hands by filling a cup with water and pouring it over the top and bottom of the right hand and then the left hand. Before wiping the hands dry on a towel, the following blessing should be recited.





Barukh atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melekh ha-olam,

asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu

al n'tilat yadayim

Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe,

who sanctifies us with his commandments, and commands us

concerning washing of hands.

HaMotzi

Immediately after washing hands and before eating, the head of the household should remove the cover from the two challah loaves, lifting them while reciting the following blessing. The challah is then ripped into pieces or sliced and passed around the table, so that each person may have a piece. The family meal may then begin.

Barukh atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melekh ha-olam,

ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz. (Amein)

Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe,

who brings forth bread from the earth. (Amen)


Sources: Judaism 101 and Cardin, Rabbi Nina Beth. The Tapestry of Jewish Time. NJ: Behrman House, 2000.

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