top of page

A Family Celebration: Shabbat

I read recently how a mother lighting candles on a Friday evening had made a lasting impression on a middle-aged man. Seeing a lit candle today still gave him that special, warm feeling he experienced every Friday evening as he grew up at home. I suspect the man grew up in a religious, Jewish family, who usually eat as a family around the table with candles lit and no technology at the beginning of the Sabbath every Friday evening. The Family is one of the great strengths of Judaism. The Sabbath is also a family day when no work is done, and worship takes place in the synagogue. It is a day that the Jews look forward to each week.

The word Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word Sabbat which means rest. Observing the Sabbath is one of the ten commandments and is one of the most important rituals in Judaism.

The Sabbath is when Jews remember their relationship with God, but it is also very much a family day. There can be no shopping, cleaning, cooking or any other chores carries out on the Sabbath. The Sabbath Day is a day of joy and a day for dressing up smart.

The Sabbath Day candles are lit at sunset on the Friday and they represent Zachor which is a reminder that it is the Sabbath and Shamor which is a reminder that the sabbath day laws should be observed. Sweet wine is drunk from the Kiddush Cup to symbolise celebration and joy. The family may attend the synagogue for a short act of worship before returning home for the Sabbath meal. A special eggy bread called challah, made in the shape of braid, is eaten at the start of the Sabbath meal. Meals are often slow cooked meals like stew or casserole as these can be prepared earlier. There is no set menu for the Sabbath meal. Prayers and readings from the Torah are read aloud, and the children are blessed. Jewish law says that three meals must be eaten on the Sabbath and because it is a day of rest they must be prepared prior to the beginning of the Sabbath. Everything that constitutes work must be done in advance.

The whole family will worship in the synagogue on the Saturday. Worship usually begins at around 9am, and continues all morning. After worship wine is drunk from the Kiddush goblet again and a leisurely, festive meal is eaten before a few games might be played. After sunset the family performs a ritual called Havdalah and a blessing is performed over wine, spices and candles and this marks the end of the Sabbath for another week.

The Sabbath is a great family celebration.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page