Sign In Forgot Password

Typical Shabbat


Shabbat, like all Jewish days, begins at sunset, because in the story of creation in Genesis
Ch. 1, you will notice that it says, "And there was evening, and there was morning, one day."
From this, we infer that a day begins with evening, that is, sunset. For the precise time when
Shabbat begins and ends in your area, consult the list of candle lighting times provided by
the Orthodox Union, by Chabad or by any Jewish calendar.

Shabbat candles are lit and a blessing is recited no later than eighteen minutes before sunset.
This ritual, performed by the woman of the house, officially marks the beginning of Shabbat.
Two candles are lit, representing the two commandments: zakhor (remember) and shamor
(observe), discussed above.

The family then attends a brief evening service (45 minutes - that's brief by Jewish standards).

After services, the family comes home for a festive, leisurely dinner. Before dinner, the man
of the house recites Kiddush, a prayer over wine sanctifying Shabbat. The usual prayer for
eating bread is recited over two loaves of challah, a sweet, eggy bread shaped in a braid.

The family then eats dinner. Although there are no specific requirements or customs regarding
what to eat, meals are generally stewed or slow cooked items, because of the prohibition
against cooking during Shabbat. (Things that are mostly cooked before Shabbat and then
reheated or kept warm are OK).

After dinner, the birkat ha-mazon (grace after meals) is recited. Although this is done every
day, on Shabbat, it is done in a leisurely manner with many upbeat tunes.

The family the has time to talk  or study Torah, and then go to sleep.

The next morning Shabbat services begin around 9AM and continue until about noon. After
services, the family says kiddush again and has another leisurely, festive meal. A typical
afternoon meal is cholent, a very slowly cooked stew. By the time birkat ha-mazon is done,
it is about 2PM. The family studies Torah for a while, talks, takes an afternoon walk, plays
some board games, or engages in other leisure activities. A short afternoon nap is not
uncommon. It is traditional to have a third meal before Shabbat is over. This is usually a
light meal in the late afternoon.

Shabbat ends at nightfall, when three stars are visible, approximately 40 minutes after sunset.
At the conclusion of Shabbat, the family performs a concluding ritual called Havdalah (separation,
division). Blessings are recited over wine, spices and candles. Then a blessing is recited
regarding the division between the sacred and the secular, between Shabbat and the working days.


Sun, January 20 2019 14 Sh'vat 5779