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Shabbat How-To:

Words and Deeds

1. Candle Lighting

Candles are traditionally lit before sundown on Friday night.

Related:
sunrise/sunset chart
.
The practice is as follows:
  • First light the candles. Two is standard, but some light one candle for each member of their household.
  • Make three sweeping, circular motions over the flames, then rest your hands on your eyes. This gesture represents drawing the light towards you.
  • With your hands over your eyes say the following blessing:
"Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh haolam asher kideshanu bemitszvotav vetzivanu le hadlik ner shel Shabbat"
"Blessed are you, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with commandments and who has commanded us to kindle the light of Shabbat. "
One is not permitted to light a fire on Shabbat. Therefore, even though a blessing typically preceeds performance of a ritual, in this case the candle lighting preceeds the blessing, which ushers in the Sabbath. By covering and uncovering one's eyes after reciting the blessing, it is as if one has lit the candles after reciting the blessing.

Many people use the time when their eyes are covered to experience the first moments of Shabbat peace, or for personal prayers.

[back to Seven Shabbat traditions]

On this topic:
Introduction

Creating Shabbat

Seven Shabbat traditions

How to: Words and deeds

Shabbat as a family 

Mishpacha participants on Shabbat

.

 

2. Blessing The Children

Blessing one’s children is a custom, not a mitzvah, or commandment. This is a tradition based on the Biblical blessings our patriarch Isaac bestowed on his sons, Jacob and Esau, and our forefather Jacob tendered to his grandchildrenEphraim and Menasseh.

The blessing for a boy recalls the sons of Joseph who became two of the twelve tribes of Jacob:

Yesimkha Elohim k’Efrayim v’k’Menasseh.

May God make you like Ephraim and Menasseh.

The blessing for a girl recall the matriarchs:
Yesimekh Elohim k’Sarah, Rivka, Rachel v’Leah.

May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.

[back to Seven Shabbat traditions]

 

Related:
Shabbat as a family

 

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3. Kiddush

In most families, the kiddush is recited by one person, while the rest of the family stands. Standing allows everyone to attend to the sacredness of the moment. While kiddush is recited, the challot are covered so as not to detract attention from kiddush. The English text follows:

Quietly: And it was evening, and it was morning...

Aloud:

The sixth day.
The Heavens and the earth and all that was in them were completed.
And God completed on the seventh day all the work that he had done.
And God rested on the seventh day from all the work that God had done.
And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it,
for on that day God rested from all his work,
which God had created.

Blessed are You, Ruler of the Universe, Creator of the Fruit of the Vine. (All say amen)

Blessed Are You, Ruler of the Universe, who sanctified us with God’s commandments.
Lovingly You have favored us with the gift of Your holy Shabbat as our inheritance, a reminder of creation,
first among the sacred days which recall the exodus from Egypt.
You have chosen us for Your service, and given us a sacred purpose in life.
In loving favor, You have given us Your holy Shabbat as a heritage.
Praised are You God, who sanctifies the Shabbat. (All say Amen)

[back to Seven Shabbat traditions]

4. The Breaking of Bread

Uncover the challot. Hold the two challot together.

Then recite the following blessing:

Baruch Ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh Haolam Ha-Motzi Lechem Min Ha-aretz.
Blessed Are You God, Ruler of the Universe,who draws bread from the earth.
This blessing reminds us of the source of our food.
Related:
Blessings and thanksgiving
.

[back to Seven Shabbat traditions]

5. The Blessing after the Meal:

(Because of the length of this blessing we have only included the first section.)

Blessed are You God, our God, Ruler of the Universe, who sustains the entire world with goodness, kindness and compassion. God gives food to all creatures, for God’s compassion is everlasting. Through God’s abundant goodness we have never yet been in want; may we never be in want of sustenance for the sake of God’s great name. For God is a God who sustains all, does good to all, and provides food for all God’s creatures which God has created. Blessed are you God, who provides food for all.
[back to Seven Shabbat traditions]

6. The Sabbath Day

The actual daytime kiddush is so short (just one sentence) that it received the ironic name Great Kiddush, though an optional introductory paragraph helps it measure up to its evening cousin.

In most families, the kiddush is recited by one person, while the rest of the family stands. Standing allows everyone to attend to the sacredness of the moment. While kiddush is recited, the challot are covered so as not to detract attention from kiddush.

Introduction (optional)

And the Children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to make the Sabbath for their generations, an eternal covenant. It is an eternal sign between me and the Children of Israel, that in six days God created the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested. (Exodus 31:16-17)

Remember to make the day of Shabbat holy. Labor six days and do all your work and the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Do no work, you and your son and your daughter, your slave and maidservants and your animals, and strangers in your gates. Because six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the seas and everything in them, and He rested on the seventh day. (Exodus 20:8-11)

V’Shamru Vnei Yisrael et ha-shabbat, La’asot et ha-shabbat L’dorotam, brit olam: Beini uven Bnei Yisrael ote he l’olam, ki sheshet yamim asa Adonai et Ha-shamayim v’-et ha-aretz, uvayom ha-sh’viyi shavat vayinafash.

Zachor et Yom Ha-shabbat lekadsho. Sheshet yamim ta’avod ve’asita kol melachtecha. Veyom Ha-sh’viyi shabbat la-Adonai elohecha, lo ta’aseh chol melacha, ata uvincha uvitecha avdecha va-amatcha uvehemtecha, vegercha asher bish’arecha. Ki sheshet yamim asa Adonai et ha-shamayim v’-et ha-aretz, et ha-yam v’-et kol asher bam, vayanach bayom ha-sh’viyi.

 

Great Kiddush

Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

(With your permission:)

Blessed are You, ruler of the universe, creator of the fruit of the vine. (All say amen)

Al Kein beirach Adonai et Yom Ha-shabbat vaykadsheihu.

(Savri maranan v’rabanan v’rabbotai)

Baruch ata Adonai, eloheinu melech haolam, borei pri hagafen.

7. Havdalah

Leader holds a glass of wine and has a spice box ready. A braided candle is lit and held by another person. The leader recites:

Behold the God of my salvation. I will trust in God and will not be afraid. God is my strength and my song; God has become my liberation. With joy shall you draw water from the wells of salvation. Liberation belongs to God. On Your nation is Your blessing. God of the hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is a refuge for us. Happy is the person who trusts in you. God, save us, may the Ruler answer us on the day when we call.
The Jews had light and joy, gladness and honor. So may it be with us.

I will lift the cup of salvation and call upon the name of God.

Lifting the glass of wine without drinking from it, the leader says:
Blessed are You God, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
Lifting the spices the leader says:
Blessed are You God, Ruler of the Universe, who creates a variety of spices. (smell the spices.)
Holding a cupped hand in the light of the plaited candle, the leader says:
Blessed are You God, ruler of the Universe, who creates the lights of fire.
The leader raises the cup again and says:
Blessed are You God, Ruler of the Universe, who has made a distinction between the holy and the ordinary, between light and darkness between the people of Israel and other peoples, between the seventh day and the six ordinary days of the week. Blessed are You God, who has made a distinction between the holy and the ordinary.
All say Amen and drink from the cup of wine.

[back to Seven Shabbat traditions]

 

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