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שבת shabbat

By Levi Clancy for לוי on

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Many of our traditional prayers developed in the era between the second Temple destruction and the Middle Ages. This particular prayer is by Rabbi Shimon, but there are others by Rabbi Hiyya and Rav Hamnuna Sava which are just as appropriate.

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 (representing the dual portion of manna that God provided for the Israelites in preparation for Shabbat in the desert). 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 waves 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. The hands are then removed from the eyes, and she looks at the candles, completing the mitzvah of lighting the candles.

Blessing over candles
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olamBlessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanuWho has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
l'had'lik neir shel Shabbat. (Amein)to light the lights of Shabbat. (Amen)

Evening services

Evening services (Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma'ariv) should be attended in the synagogue or performed in the home between candle lighting and dinner on the evening of the sabbath.

קדיש kiddush (sanctification)

Kiddush is the blessing over wine before a meal.

It is recited while holding a cup of wine or other liquid, no less than 3.3 ounces.

שבת shabbat prayer

עִבְרִית ha'ivriTransliterationEnglish
וַיְהִי-עֶרֶב וַיְהִי-בֹקֶר, יוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי Gen 1:31vay'hi erev vay'hi voker yom hashishiand there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ, וְכָל-צְבָאָם. Gen 2:1vay'khulu hashamayim v'ha'aretz v'khol tz'va'amthe heavens, the earth, and everything in them was now completed
וַיְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה Gen 2:2vay'khal elohim bayom hash'vi'i m'la'kh'to asher asahOn the seventh day God had finished his work of creation,
וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, מִכָּל-מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂהvayish'bot bayom hash'vi'i mikol m'la'kh'to asher asahso he rested from all his work.
וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת-יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתוֹ Gen 2:3vay'varekh Elohim et yom hash'vi'i vay'kadeish otoAnd God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy,
כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל-מְלַאכְתּוֹ, אֲשֶׁר-בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂוֹתki vo shavat mikol m'la'kh'to asher bara Elohim la'asotbecause it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.

הגפן ha'gafen
prayer for wine

עִבְרִית ha'ivriTransliterationEnglish
ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו מלך העולםbarukh attah adonai eloheinu melekh ha'olamnow bless our blessed lord, our god, majesty of the universe
בורא פרי הגפןbo'rei pe'ri ha'gafenwho creates the fruit of the vine
For a non-grape beverage, we say the blessing below instead.
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha-olamBlessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
shehakol nih'yeh bid'varo (Amein)Who made all things exist through His word (Amen)

More prayer

After the beverage prayer, we then say this blessing.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָםBarukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha-olamBlessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe
אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְרַָצָה בָנוּasher kid'shanu b'mitz'votav v'ratzah vanuwho sanctifies us with his commandments, and has been pleased with us
וְשַׁבָּת קָדְשׁוֹ בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן הִנְחִילָנוּ
זִכָּרוֹן לְמַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית
v'shabat kad'sho b'ahavah uv'ratzon hin'chilanu
zikaron l'ma'aseih v'rei'shit
You have lovingly and willingly given us Your holy Shabbat as an inheritance,
in memory of creation
כִּי הוּא יוֹם תְּחִלָּה לְמִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ
זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם
ki hu yom t'chilah l'mik'ra'ei kodesh
zeikher litzi'at Mitz'rayim
because it is the first day of our holy assemblies, in memory of the exodus from Egypt
כִּי בָנוּ בָחַרְתָּ וְאוֹתָנוּ קְדַּשְׁתָּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּיםki vanu vachar'ta v'otanu kidash'ta mikol ha'amimbecause You have chosen us and made us holy from all peoples
וְשַׁבָּת קָדְשְׁךָ בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן הִנְחַלְתָּנוּv'shabat kad'sh'kha b'ahavah uv'ratzon hin'chal'tanuand have willingly and lovingly given us Your holy Shabbat for an inheritance
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ מְקַדֵּשׁ הַשַׁבָּתBarukh atah Adonai m'kadeish hashabat (Amein).Blessed are You, who sanctifies Shabbat (Amen)

Blessing the meal

רחצה rachtzah
washing the hands

N'tilat yadayim / Mayim rishonim
Recite the appropriate blessing and wash the hands.
עִבְרִית ha'ivriTransliterationEnglish
ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו מלך העולםBarukh ata Adonai Elohenu melekh ha'olamnow bless our blessed lord, our god, majesty of the universe
אשר קדשנו במצותיוasher qiddeshanu b'mitzvotavwho has sanctified us with His commandments
וצונו על נטילת ידיםv'tzivanu al netilath yadayimand commanded us on washing our 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. Why is there no "Amen" at the end of this blessing? Traditionally, each person washes their own hands, and each person says their own blessing. You don't say "Amen" to your own blessing, and everybody says their own n'tilat yadayim, so there is no "Amen"! With the other blessings on this page, a leader says the blessing on behalf of everyone, and the others say "Amen."

המוציא ha'motzi
blessing over the bread

This blessing is made only for bread made from one or all of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt. 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.

עִבְרִית ha'ivriTransliterationEnglish
ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו מלך העולםbarukh atah adonai elohenu melekh ha'olamnow bless our blessed lord, our god, majesty of the universe
המוציא לחם מן הארץha'motzi lehem min ha‑aretzwho brings forth bread from the earth

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.

Good information