Shabbat. Somehow our ancestors knew, without a scientific study or thousands of retweets, that we humans are hard-wired to need a break. That’s why the word Shabbat has the same Hebrew root as the word to sit, l’shevet. The ancient rituals of Shabbat gently nudge us to separate from the weekday grind and instead to unplug, notice, reflect and relax.
There’s a belief that we each get an extra soul on Shabbat. A little more spiritual life and breathing room in our lives as we light the candles, drink the wine and bless our food. We hope you, your extra soul and anyone else you’re spending time with enjoy this Shabbat meal together.
“More than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.”
Ahad Ha’am, founder of Cultural Zionism
Light two candles (or one for each member of your family). Pause for a moment to look into the flames. Circle the flames with your hands three times and then cover your eyes as you recite the blessing. Peeking is OK!
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, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, whose mitzvot add holiness to our lives and who has given us the mitzvah to kindle the lights of Shabbat
Fill a glass with wine or grape juice. The word kiddush, means holy. This moment, just before we take a sip, will only happen once. Savor it as you say this blessing, then drink.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei p’ri hagafen.
Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
Before we eat, we wash our hands. You can use soap and water (for at least 20 seconds). Or you can use a cup to pour water over your hands. Feel the water splash on your hands and notice the temperature. As you dry your hands, say the blessing.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדַיִם
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu al n’tilat yadayim.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, whose mitzvot add holiness to our lives and who has given us the mitzvah of washing hands.
Take the cover off your challah (or any kind of bread) and hold it up, like Simba over Pride Rock as you say the blessing together.
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, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.
Take a deep breath. Think about where you were last Friday night. Where were you? How did you spend the evening?
Now, follow the thread from Friday into Saturday, Sunday and through each day of the week. What was something that made you smile? What challenged you? Did you eat something delicious? Did you quarrel with someone? Whatever happened, seal the week with another deep breath and get ready to sink into the comfort of Shabbat.
Whether you’re spending this Shabbat alone or with others, use this blessing to send a message of love and peace to those you care about.
May you feel love and security wherever you go.
May you radiate with light and gratitude throughout your days.
May a spirit of amazement reside within you always, and may you find peace.
(adapted from the blessing for children)
Here is a brief blessing, in Aramaic, to give thanks after your meal
בריך רחמנא מלכא דעלמא מריה דהאי פיתא
Brich rachamana malka d’alma marei d’hai pita.
We are blessed with compassion by you, Infinite One, who sustains us with bread.
Adapted from the Babylonian Talmud (Brachot 40b) by OneTable: https://issuu.com/onetableshabbat/docs/ultimate_shabbat_guide?e=33133766/60166643