Celebrating Shabbat at Home

(If you’d like to learn other prayers you can say every day, please check out our #1PrayerADay page for over a dozen prayers about every day life.)

Most of us have so much pressure and stress in our lives, observing Jewish traditions should help reduce our stress–not add to it.

Our family started with the three easiest brachot for Friday night; lighting of the candles, the blessing over the wine and blessing over the Challah.

Shabbat candles can be found at most supermarkets and, of course, Judaica stores, and are quite inexpensive. You’ll need a set of candlesticks.

Just before you are ready to sit down at the table for dinner, you can light the candles using the following blessing;

Baruch atah Adonai elohaynu melech ha’olam asher kidshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.

Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to light the Shabbat candles

 

In our family, we started a ritual of welcoming in the good Shabbat energy and then sending out to family and friends who needed a little extra because they were sick or because they had a recent tragedy in their lives. Sometimes we would send good Shabbat energy to cities or countries going through a natural disaster and often to the men and women protecting our country. That’s just an example of customizing the ritual to your own family. You can do this anyway you want.

 

Now that the candles are lit, you can recite the blessing over the wine. Every one lifts their glass of wine (or other liquid if they are not drinking wine) and says the following;

Baruch atah Adonai elohaynu melech ha’olam boray pri ha’gafen.

Praised are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

 

After lighting the candles and saying the blessing over the wine, you can do the blessing over the bread, Challah. Challah can also be easily purchased at most supermarkets and isn’t too expensive.

Baruch atah Adonai elohaynu melech ha’olam hamotzi lechem min ha’aretz.

Praised are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

 

We usually let our kids pull a piece of Challah and then share it with everyone at the table. It helps them feel a part of the process. Afterwards, we give everyone present a hug and kiss and say Shabbat Shalom.

 

Congratulations! You’ve welcomed Shabbat into your home. Now you can enjoy your meal.

As time has gone on, we’ve added some new rituals, some that didn’t work and we stopped doing and some that worked and we continue to do. For instance, we now say the blessing over our children (and any children at the table), which has become very special. We also have found beautiful passages in the prayer book that we have incorporated as well.

 

Jeremy Schneider is a member of the OJC Board. Feel free to email him directly.