What Is Shabbat?
Shabbat is the Jewish Sabbath that begins at sundown on Friday and ends at nightfall on Saturday.
Shabbat is a weekly opportunity to step away from daily routines to reflect on our lives, to reconnect with family and remember what is important in life. Judaism describes Shabbat as a taste of the “World to Come” when all people will live together in peace and harmony. Shabbat, traditionally, is also a time to thank God for liberating us from slavery in Egypt and a reminder that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh.
It’s the most important ritual observance in Judaism, though it is celebrated in different ways, including a special meal with blessings, prayers and, traditionally, a prohibition against work.
What Do I Need for Shabbat?
Typically, two candles are lit on Shabbat, though some families add an additional candle for each child in the home. While Shabbat candles can be bought in grocery stores with kosher sections, tea lights, other long-burning candles and even electric bulbs can be used.
Any wine or grape juice can be used for the blessing. If there is no wine or juice, the blessing can be performed over the challah, a special, braided egg bread that can be made or purchased for Shabbat. Grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s, Heinen’s, Giant Eagle and Miles Farmers Market sell them fresh, as do some bakeries, such as Blackbird Baking Co., Panera and the Bagel Shoppe. However, if you don’t have challah, any type of bread can be substituted.
Special candlesticks and cups add to the beauty of the day, but they’re not required.
Still Have Questions?
Blessing Over the Candles
.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלהֵֹינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבָּת
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.
Blessed are You Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who has made us holy through God’s commandments, and commands us to light the Sabbath candles.
Blessing Over Children
.יְבָרֶכְךָ יְיָ וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ. יָאֵר יְיָ פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ יִשָֹּא יְיָ פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵֹם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם
Y’varekh’kha Adonai v’yish’m’rekha. Ya’eir Adonai panav eilekha viy’khuneka. Yisa Adonai panav eilekha, v’yaseim l’kha shalom.
May God bless you and protect you. May God shine upon you and be gracious to you. May God always be with you and grant you peace.
Kiddush — Blessing Over the Wine
.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלהֵֹינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha’olam, borei p’ree hagafen.
Blessed are You Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe who creates the fruit of the vine.
Blessing Over the Challah
.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלהֵֹינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha’olam, hamotzi lekhem min ha’aretz.
Blessed are You Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who causes bread to come forth from the earth.