Judaism 101

Shabbat Evening Home Ritual

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If you do not have experience reading transliteration
please see the Guide to Transliteration.

Setting the Table

The sabbath table should be set with at least two candles (representing the dual commandments to remember and observe the sabbath), a glass of wine, and at least two loaves of challah (representing the dual portion of manna that God provided for the Israelites in preparation for Shabbat in the desert). The challah loaves should be whole, and should be covered with a bread cover, towel or napkin.

Lighting Candles

Candles should be lit no later than 18 minutes before sundown. For the precise time when Shabbat begins in your area, consult the list of candle lighting times provided by the Orthodox Union or any Jewish calendar.

Woman lighting candlesAt least two candles should be lit, representing the dual commandments to remember and to keep the sabbath. The candles are lit by the woman of the household. After lighting, she waves her hands over the candles, welcoming in the sabbath. Then she covers her eyes, so as not to see the candles before reciting the blessing, and recites the blessing below. The hands are then removed from the eyes, and she looks at the candles, completing the mitzvah of lighting the candles.

Blessing over Candles
Hebrew
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
Hebrew
asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
Hebrew
l'had'lik neir shel Shabbat. (Amein)
to light the lights of Shabbat. (Amen)

Evening Services

Evening services (Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma'ariv) should be attended in the synagogue or performed in the home between candle lighting and dinner on the evening of the sabbath.

Kiddush

Kiddush is recited while holding a cup of wine or other liquid, no less than 3.3 ounces. If wine or grape juice is not used, you should substitute shehakol nih'yeh bid'varo (by whose will all things come to be) for borei p'ri hagafen (who creates the fruit of the vine).

Hebrew
Vay'hi erev vay'hi voker yom hashishi
And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day
Hebrew
vay'khulu hashamayim v'ha'aretz v'khol tz'va'am
The heavens and the earth were finished, the whole host of them
Hebrew
vay'khal elohim bayom hash'vi'i m'la'kh'to asher asah
And on the seventh day God completed his work that he had done
Hebrew
vayish'bot bayom hash'vi'i mikol m'la'kh'to asher asah
and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done
Hebrew
Vay'varekh Elohim et yom hash'vi'i vay'kadeish oto
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it
Hebrew
ki vo shavat mikol m'la'kh'to asher bara Elohim la'asot
because in it he had rested from all his work that God had created to do
Hebrew
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha-olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe

(if using wine or grape juice)

Hebrew
borei p'ri hagafen (Amein)
Who creates the fruit of the vine (Amen)

(if using other liquids)

Hebrew
shehakol nih'yeh bid'varo (Amein)
Who made all things exist through His word (Amen)

Hebrew
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha-olam
Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe
Hebrew
asher kid'shanu b'mitz'votav v'ratzah vanu
who sanctifies us with his commandments, and has been pleased with us
Hebrew
v'shabat kad'sho b'ahavah uv'ratzon hin'chilanu zikaron l'ma'aseih v'rei'shit
You have lovingly and willingly given us Your holy Shabbat as an inheritance, in memory of creation
Hebrew
ki hu yom t'chilah l'mik'ra'ei kodesh zeikher litzi'at Mitz'rayim
because it is the first day of our holy assemblies, in memory of the exodus from Egypt
Hebrew
ki vanu vachar'ta v'otanu kidash'ta mikol ha'amim
because You have chosen us and made us holy from all peoples
Hebrew
v'shabat kad'sh'kha b'ahavah uv'ratzon hin'chal'tanu
and have willingly and lovingly given us Your holy Shabbat for an inheritance
Hebrew
Barukh atah Adonai m'kadeish hashabat (Amein).
Blessed are You, who sanctifies Shabbat (Amen)

Washing Hands
After Kiddush and before the meal, each person in the household should wash hands by filling a cup with water and pouring it over the top and bottom of the right hand and then the left hand. Before wiping the hands dry on a towel, the following blessing should be recited.
Hebrew
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha-olam
Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe
Hebrew
asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
Hebrew
al n'tilat yadayim.
concerning washing of hands.
Why is there no "Amen" at the end of this blessing? Traditionally, each person washes their own hands, and each person says their own blessing. You don't say "Amen" to your own blessing, and everybody says their own n'tilat yadayim, so there is no "Amen"! With the other blessings on this page, a leader says the blessing on behalf of everyone, and the others say "Amen."

Ha-Motzi
Immediately after washing hands and before eating, the head of the household should remove the cover from the two challah loaves, lifting them while reciting the following blessing. The challah is then ripped into pieces or sliced and passed around the table, so that each person may have a piece. The family meal may then begin.
Hebrew
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha-olam
Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe
Hebrew
hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz. (Amein).
who brings forth bread from the earth. (Amen)


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