Mordechai Kaplan, a prominent Jewish philosopher taught, “An artist cannot be continually wielding his brush. He must stop at times in his painting to freshen his vision of the object, the meaning of which he wishes to express on his canvas. Living is also an art….The Sabbath represents those moments when we pause in our brushwork to renew our vision of the object. Having done so we take ourselves to our painting with clarified vision and renewed energy.”
We invite you to use the Shabbat Guide to inspire you to create a meaningful and personalized Shabbat experience.
What is Shabbat?
Shabbat is the 7th day of the week and it is a day of rest.
Why do we celebrate Shabbat?
The reason we celebrate Shabbat comes from this piece of biblical text: “The heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array. And on the seventh day God finished the work that had been done, and ceased on the seventh day from all work that had been done. God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all work of creation that had been done.” – Genesis 2:1-3
When is Shabbat?
Shabbat begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday.
How is Shabbat celebrated?
Traditionally, we welcome Shabbat in the following way:
We light two white Shabbat candles and cover our eyes as we say a blessing over them. Lighting the candles is symbolic of hope and reenacting God’s first creation, light.
We say a blessing for our children and spouse.
We say a blessing over the wine, called Kiddush, which is sanctifying this holy day.
We say Ha’Motzi, the blessing for challah, a specially braided bread that we eat on Shabbat. Challah is a symbol of peace.
We eat a festive Shabbat meal.
We wish others a Shabbat Shalom, which means “peaceful Shabbat.” Some people say Gut Shobbos–this is Yiddish for “have a good Sabbath.” This greeting is prevalent amongst those of Ashkenazi ancestry and those born in Europe.
Shabbat is an opportunity to take pause from the hectic week that is ending. Other activities you may enjoy on Shabbat include reading, studying, spending time in nature, and quality time with loved ones.
Blessing over the Candles
בָּרוּך אַתָּה ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אַשֶׁר קִדְשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶל שַבָּת
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.
Blessed are You, God, Ruler of the universe, who sanctified us with the commandment of lighting Shabbat candles.
Blessing for the Children
For boys, the introductory line is:
יְשִׂימְךָ אֱלֹהיִם כְּאֶפְרַיְם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה
Yismech Elohim k’Ephraim v’chi-Menashe.
May you be like Ephraim and Menashe.
For girls, the introductory line is:
יְשִׂימֵךְ אֱלֹהיִם כְּשָׂרָה רִבְקָה רָחֵל וְלֵאָה
Yesimech Elohim k’Sarah Rivka Rachel v’Leah
May you be like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.
For both boys and girls, the rest of the blessing is:
בָרֶכְךָ ה׳ וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
יָאֵר ה׳ פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ
יִשָּׂא ה׳ פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם
Yivarechecha Adonai v’yishmerecha
Ya’er Adonai panav eilecha vichuneka
Yisa Adonai panav eilecha v’yasem lecha shalom
May God bless you and protect you.
May God show you favor and be gracious to you.
May God show you kindness and grant you peace.
Blessing over Wine
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei p’ri hagafen.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
Blessing over Challah
בָּרוּך אַתָּה ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם הָמוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הַאָרֶץ
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha’aretz
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has brought forth bread from the earth.