KEEP MY SHABBAT
To keep the Shabbat and rest and dedicate this day to the Lord, is not only a commandment but it also opens a porthole of blessings over you and your family.
Exodus 20 – 8 “Remember Yom Shabbat, to keep it holy. 9 You are to work six days, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat to Adonai your God. In it you shall not do any work—not you, nor your son, your daughter, your male servant, your female servant, your cattle, nor the outsider that is within your gates. 11 For in six days Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Thus Adonai blessed Yom Shabbat, and made it holy.
Not many people understand Shabbat and we would like to take this opportunity to give you insight into the how and why to celebrate Shabbat.
Shabbat is a gift from God to His people and is not only there for the Jews to celebrate. Though Shabbat is one of the 10 Commandments, it is also a blessing that brings us God’s peace. We need to rest from our daily chores and spend time in God’s Word – remember, celebrate, and experience the blessings of God’s creations and your relationship with HIM.
Shabbat is the source of great blessing for all who follow the will of God. Shabbat starts at sunset on a Friday evening to sunset on the Saturday evening.
This day is dedicated to worshipping God, growing spiritually, resting, and spending time with your family and friends. Friday evening should be a time to give thanks and praise to God and for the family to bless each other. Celebrate this time over a meal and just spend quality time together as a family.
Shabbat is an amazing experience that gives you the opportunity to truly seek God, to go deeper in your relationship with HIM. As you celebrate Shabbat it is important to understand the goal of Shabbat is to create peace and harmony in the home through blessings. During the prayers you will bless your children, your spouse, your extended family and your friends. By being blessed and by blessing your family and friends and blessing God, you will begin to experience the peace that comes with serving God.
Your blessing must come from deep within your heart, mean every word you pray over your family and friends and especially when blessing God. Remember there is power in the tongue to speak life and death over a person – ensure your words are true and meaningful – speak words of life and blessing over those who are near and dear to you.
Keeping the Shabbat is an awesome way to bring the family together but most of all it’s a time of celebration in honour of our Heavenly Father. Remember UNITY brings BLESSINGS.
Shabbat teaches us to be thankful for what we have and for what God has done for us – to remember all the blessings of the past week and to look forward to the blessings of the week that lies ahead.
In our busy lives today one often feels that you just don’t have time to do Shabbat – the kids may have school activities, the house needs to be cleaned, the washing needs to be done, you may have to work odd hours in your career and it may seem that it is just impossible to set the time aside to do Shabbat. But remember the world today has made us slaves …. slaves to time ….. slaves to materialistic objects ….. slaves to self-existence – not having time for anything except ourselves, which often leads to broken relationships and physical burnout.
We need to remember that God Himself rested on the seventh day – He did this so that you and I could rest and rejuvenate ourselves for the week that lies ahead of us. In Exodus 31 it tells us “It is a sign between Me and Bnei-Yisrael forever, for in six days Adonai made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested.’”
Therefore, if we do not honour God’s commandment and celebrate Shabbat we are going to be living the lives of slaves. Honour your Heavenly Father by making time in your schedule to rest and spend time with HIM – only then will you experience the true peace, joy and wholeness in your life.
Also remember that there is no specific way to celebrate Shabbat – we can get guidelines from the internet or friends and family – but you need to create your own Shabbat, with your own prayers and your own blessings. Be creative but don’t put pressure on yourself to do it 100% by the book. Remember that some families may celebrate their Shabbat from sunset on a Saturday evening to sunset on a Sunday evening because of work commitments etc. Make it fit in with your schedules but most importantly make it about God and the rest he has commanded for us.
Shabbat may be a new journey for you and your family but don’t get stressed, take it slow and enjoy each small step you take along the way.
Below is an outline of the procedure together with prayers.
Preparing for Shabbat should be a fun experience – not a chore! Prepare your favourite meal, even if it’s a take-out pizza – the idea is to share your favourite meal with your family and friends.
To celebrate Shabbat you will need the following :
- Challah bread (or any other sweet bread if you can’t bake or find challah bread – this is “braided” bread)
- Grape Juice
- 2 candles
- Table cloth
- White cloth to place the bread in
- A wide wine glass
- Small tot glass
- Glasses and all the normal dinner table settings
- A bowl of warm water
- A towel
Decorate your table and make it look festive
All of this needs to be complete BEFORE sundown.
OPENING OF SHABBAT
At sundown start by blowing the shofar which is then followed by the prayers – recite them either in Hebrew or in English.
The first step of “opening” Shabbat is the lighting of the candles. Nowhere in scripture does it tell you to light candles – it is a custom that has been developed over the years. The woman of the home lights the candles. Although the woman brought sin into the world, it was also through a woman that Yeshua our Saviour was born and He is the light of the world. Once the candles have been lit the woman then recites the following prayer :
Blessed are you YHVH Elohim, King of the universe, who gave us Shabbat. We bless you Yeshua, who is the Light of the World. May Your light shine through us.
Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, Melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.
There is also a custom to wave your hands toward the face, as though to bring in the light of the candles – this action is normally repeated 3 times for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No-where is this written in the word, again this is purely a custom that was created.
Once the candles have been lit they are NOT to be blown out. It is therefore advised that they are placed on a safe surface so as not to cause any damage to the home.
THE GRAPE JUICE
According to the 10 Commandments, Shabbat is a reminder of the work of creation and the redemption from slavery in Egypt. So, on Shabbat we make an extra effort to bless God and thank Him for the blessings of creation and for the freedom He brought for us personally through the Messiah. By saying the following blessing over the grape juice we remember and sanctify the Shabbat as well as the Lord of the Shabbat by setting it apart from all other days as the 10 Commandments exhort us (Exodus 20:12-15 7 Deuteronomy 5:12).
Here you can also have a separate wine glass with a small tot glass inside and you can then pour grape juice into the small tot glass until it overflows. This is a prophetic action for your blessings that overflow. You can then thank God for the blessings of the past week and look forward to the blessing of the week to come.
The Father of the home then raises the cup of grape juice and recites the following blessing :
Blessed are Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. Amen
Baruch ata Adonai Elohenu Melech ha-olam, borey p’ree ha-gaphen. Amayn
The cup is now shared with each member of the family. During this time the family can share their joys that they have experienced throughout the week. This can be followed with much praising and dancing – let it be a happy occasion.
WASHING OF THE HANDS
So after the blessing of the grape juice we go to the washing of the hands.
It is customary to wash one’s hands before the blessing over the bread is recited. Spiritually, Shabbat is a sacred meal and time of spiritual connection. By washing our hands, we are asking God to wash away any impurities, stress, pain, or negativity we experienced during the past week. Shabbat is a special spiritual meal so as we wash our hands, we are asking the Lord to give us “clean hands and a pure heart” so that we may enter more fully into His Presence (Psalm 24:4).
It is traditional to fill a cup with water and pour first over your right hand three times and then three times over your left. As the water washes over your hands, feel all the anxiety and impurity of the previous week being washed away.
The man of the house washes his hands first, then the wife and then the children. The following prayer is recited :
Blessed are You Lord Our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us by your commandments and commands us concerning the washing of hands.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kideshanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzeevanu al nitilat yadaim.
Some families do not have a bowl to wash hands – they use a jug or a cup which they fill with water and pour the water over the hands, and dry them on a towel while reciting the blessing.
BLESSING OVER THE BREAD
When setting the table the bread is covered in a white cloth and placed on the table. When you come to doing the blessing of the bread, the whole family places their hands on the bread and recite this prayer :
Blessed are thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from out of the earth. Amen
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, ha-motzi lekhem min ha-aretz
The man of the house now breaks the bread and send it around the table.
The blessing on the bread covers all the foods you will eat during your Shabbat meal.
BLESSING THE FAMILY
Blessing is one the keys to creating Shalom (peace). Begin by blessing the children first as they represent the future. The mom and dad of the house lay hands upon each child’s head as they bless them; it not only creates a point of connection but is a picture of one generation leaning upon and transferring blessing to the next.
Add your own special personal blessing for each child. Below is a blessing which is powerful when used to speak identity and destiny into each child’s life. This blessing is taken directly from Genesis 48:20.
FOR THE BOYS
May the Lord bless and keep you. May He cause His face to shine upon you. May He lift up His countenance and grant you peace. May you be as Ephraim and Manasseh. May the Lord with you ever be. May He bring you home unto the land prepared for thee.
(FATHER) : May God bless you and grant you long life
(MOTHER) : May the Lord fulfil our Sabbath prayer for you. May God make you good husbands and fathers.
(FATHER): May He prepare holy wives for you.
May the Lord protect and defend you. May His Spirit fill you with grace. May our family grow in happiness. Oh hear our Sabbath Prayer. Amen
FOR THE GIRLS
May the Lord bless and keep you. May He cause His face to shine upon you. May He lift up His countenance and grant you peace. May you be as Ruth and Esther. May the Lord with you ever be. May He bring you home unto the land prepared for thee.
(FATHER) : May God bless you and grant you long life
(MOTHER) : May the Lord fulfil our Sabbath prayer for you. May God make you good wives and mothers.
(FATHER): May He prepare holy husbands for you.
May the Lord protect and defend you. May His Spirit fill you with grace. May our family grow in happiness. Oh hear our Sabbath Prayer. Amen
BLESSING OVER THE WIVES AND WOMEN PRESENT AT THE DINNER
The man of the house now prays a blessing over his wife any other women that may be attending the dinner. By blessing each other it helps to build unity and to restore the peace in the family home. It is very meaningful for the men and children, to share personally what they love and value about their wives, moms, and any other significant women in their lives who might be present.
Too often the women do not receive the honour and respect that they are due. Proverbs 31 is meant to help us show admiration, appreciation, and respect for the women in our lives, especially our wives and mothers.
Below is an example of a prayer, however, you can pray from the heart to bless your wife for the week that lies ahead.
A Woman of Valour (Proverbs 31:10-31 – Tree of Life Abridged Version)
An accomplished woman of valour who can find. Her value is far beyond rubies. Her husband’s heart trusts in her, and he lacks nothing valuable. She brings him good and not harm all the days of her life. She considers a field and buys it. She girds herself with strength and invigorates her arms. She discerns that her business is good. Her lamp never goes out at night. She spreads out her palms to the poor, and extends her hands to the needy. Her husband is respected at the city gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the days to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom – a lesson of kindness is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and bless her, her husband also praises her: “Many daughters have excelled, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears Adonai (the Lord) will be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands. Let her deeds be her praise at the gates.
BLESSING OVER THE HUSBAND
It is important that every member of the family is blessed. As previously mentioned, by blessing each other as a family, it helps to build unity and to restore the peace in the family home. It is very meaningful for the women and children to share personally what they love and value about their husbands, fathers, and any other significant men in their lives who might be present.
Below is a prayer but you can also add your own words – say what is special about the person, speak blessings over him for the week ahead, etc.
Halleluyah! Happy is the man who fears Adonai, who delights greatly in His Mitzvot (Commandments). His offspring will be mighty in the land. The generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light shines in the darkness for the upright. Gracious, compassionate and just is he. Good comes to a man who is gracious and lends. He will order his affairs with fairness. Surely he will never be shaken. The righteous are remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news – his heart is steadfast, trusting in Adonai the Lord. His heart is secure, he will not fear – He gives freely to the poor. His righteousness endures forever. His horn is lifted high in honour.
The man of the home will now lead the prayer by starting with the Torah Blessing as follows :
BARCHU (Call to Prayer)
Leader : Bless the LORD who is to be praised.
Bar-chu Et A-do-nai Ham-Vo-rach
All : Blessed be the LORD who is praised for all eternity.
Ba-ruch A-do-nai Ham-vo-rach Le-o-lam Va-ed
MECHAMOCHA (Praising Adonai)
All : Who is like You, O Lord among the gods? Who is like You? Lord, there is none else. You are awesome in
praise, doing wonders, O Lord. Who is like You, O Lord?
Me-cha mo-cha bah-ay-leem Adonai. Me-cha mo-cha neh-dahr bah-ko-desh. No-rah te-he-lote O-sey feh-leh, O-sey feh-leh.
BLESSING OF MESSIAH
All : Blessed are You, O LORD our God, King of the Universe, who has given us the way of salvation in
Ba-ruch A-ta A-do-nai El-o-hey-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam, A-sher Na-tahn La-noo Et Deh-rech
Ha-ye-shoo-ah Be-Me-shi-ach Ye-shu-a
VESHAMROO (Guarding the Divine Covenant)
All : The children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath and observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as
an everlasting covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and was refreshed.
Ve-Sham-roo Ve-nay Yis-ra-el Et Ha-Shabbat, La-a-sot Et Ha-Shabbat Le-dor-ot-am Be-reet O-lam. Be-nee Oo-va-yan. Be-nay Yis-ra-el Ot Hee Le-o-lam Kee She-shet Ya-amin A-sah A-do-nai Et Ha-sha-ma- yeem Ve-et Ha-arets Oo-vay-om Hash-vee-ee. Sha-vat Vay-een-a-fash.
All : Hear O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is One. Blessed by His Name whose glorious Kingdom is
forever and ever. YESHUA, the Messiah, He is LORD.
She-ma Yis-ra-el, A-do-nai E-lo-hey-nu, A-do-nai Ec-had. Ba-ruch Shem Ke-vod Mal-choo-to Le-o-lam Va-ed. YESHUA, Ha-Ma-she-ach, Hoo A-do-nai.
Now you enjoy your Shabbat meal and fellowship with your family and friends.
Once you have enjoyed your meal you close the celebration with the following prayers :
BIRKAT HA-MAZON (Blessing after the Meal)
To complete our Shabbat dinner, we thank God for providing us with the delicious food, family, and friends as well as the gift of Shabbat itself. The after-meal blessing is derived from Deuteronomy 8:10 where God commands, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, you will praise the Lord, your God.” Traditionally, grace after the meals begins by reciting Psalm 126 followed by a blessing.
Psalm 126 – Joyful Restoration of Zion
1 A Song of Ascents. When Adonai restored the captives of Zion, it was as if we were dreaming. 2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with a song of joy. Then they said among the nations, “Adonai has done great things for them.” 3 Adonai has done great things for us – we are joyful! 4 Restore us from captivity, Adonai, like streams in the Negev. 5 Those who sow in tears will reap with a song of joy. 6 Whoever keeps going out weeping, carrying his bag of seed, will surely come back with a song of joy, carrying his sheaves.
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Sovereign King of the universe, who nourishes the whole world with goodness, grace, kindness, and compassion. He gives sustenance to all flesh, for His Kindness is eternal. Because of His great goodness, we have never lacked, nor will we ever lack sustenance forever and ever.
For the sake of His great name God provides for and nourishes all, He does good to all and provides food for all His creatures for whom He has created. Blessed are You, O Lord, who nourishes and sustains all.
Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai, E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam, Ha-zan et ha-o-lam ku-lo b’tu-vo, b’chein b’che-sed uv-ra-cha-mim, Hu no-tein le-chem l’chal ba-sar, ki l’o-lam chas-do. Uv-tu-vo ha-ga-dol, ta-mid lo cha-seir la-nu, v’al yech-sar la-nu, ma-zon l’o-lam va-ed. Ba-a-vur sh’mo ha-ga-dol, ki hu El zan um-far-neis la-kol, u-mei-tiv la-kol, u-mei-chin ma-zon l’chal b’ri-yo-tav a-sher ba-ra. Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai, ha-zan et ha-kol.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; may the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. In the name of Yeshua the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, Shalom.
Ye-va-recha Adonai ve-yeesh-me-recha. Ya-er Adonai panav e-ley-cha vee-choo-ne-cha Yeesa Adonai panav e-lay-cha v’yasem l’cha Shalom. B’Shem Yeshua ha-Ma-she-ach sar ha-shalom, shalom.
With this blessing we end Shabbat.