A day of rest that lasts from sundown on Friday evening through nightfall on Saturday night.
There are many things that Orthodox or observant Jews will not do on Shabbat (such as driving, working, or turning on a light switch), there are a host of things they do do in order to make the Shabbat a delightful celebration.
In the words of Isaiah 58:13 “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:”
You may already know that Shabbat is the weekly day of rest. The celebration begins in Jewish households in Israel and around the world during the Friday night dinner.
A big part of the “delight” of Shabbat is the enjoyment of three Shabbat meals, mainly the first two—Friday night dinner and Shabbat lunch—that are elegantly prepared, preceded by the sipping of ceremonial kiddush wine or grape juice (the best grape juice we’ve ever tasted, by the way), and the breaking of traditional challah bread, and blessings along with songs, inspiring thoughts and camaraderie integrated.
To host this event, much of the meal preparation takes place Thursday and Friday morning. Shabbat usually starts at sunset for the candle-lighting and prayer. This is a prayer of thanksgiving over the workweek coming to a close of a week of activity, a week of growth, and a tiring week with the celebration of a day of rest and tranquility with a Shabbat rest.
At the ARC, most Fridays receive guests. Every Friday is Shabbat, a special meal is prepared. This meal is really a celebration meal where guests and the hosts enjoy sharing the experience of five observances that are an integral part of any Shabbat meal. The ARC has had upwards of 80 or so guests that we know of.
These are the blessings (Baruch) observed throughout the Shabbat meal:
- Blessing for the Lighting of the Candles
- Blessing over the Wine or Grape Juice
- Blessing for Washing of the Hands
- Blessing over the Challah (braided bread)
- Blessing from the head of household (over wives, children, others)
We think this is a special biblical practice that the LORD God instituted for mankind for a reason. It is not only for health but for remembering Him and honoring Him.
WHO doesn’t like receiving a blessing?
In a separate post, I will share these 5 Blessings practiced at Shabbot and there meaning and why it is a blessing for everyone.
One Shabbat, we collected our Shabbat meal we had our own private meal. We are allowed a special weekend off every month, which is such a huge blessing. We will share about in another blog article. This was totally acceptable and the kitchen staff at that time enjoyed preparing a special hallah bread for us and a small h’orderves plate just for us.
Here is what comes up next in the line-up of our “semi-“normal” life:
The congregation post will conclude the series of our semi-consistent day to day life at the Aliyah Return Center (ARC).