Shabbat observance laws are endless. Orthodox Jewish Rabbis will study the laws during their entire lifetime. Writing about Shabbat (Sabbath, Saturday) is very enjoyable. It is such a unique and special holiday. You might have heard of lighting Shabbat candles; Shabbat rituals of not touching electricity, driving a car and going to work. But what is Shabbat observance all about? Why do the Jewish people observe the Shabbat? What is a Shabbat challah? What are Shabbat songs?
Source of Shabbat
Hashem (God) gave the Jewish people the special day of Shabbat in the desert of Marah a few weeks before the Sinai revelation. Shabbat observance laws are based on the building of the tabernacle. All works needed to do by the building of tabernacle' are prohibited to do on the Shabbat. These laws are called "the 39 melachot (works) of Shabbat". Shabbat is a Jewish holiday that symbolizes the connection of Jews with Hashem. Hashem gave the Shabbat as a Jewish rest day in resemblance of day seven' Hashems rest day of world creation. Orthodox Jews believe that Hashem created the world in six days and rested on Shabbat. Shabbat is called the "bond - brit" between Hashem and the Jews.
Lighting Shabbat candles
One of the unique Shabbat rituals is the lighting of the candles. The reason of candle lighting is in order to light up the Jewish home for Shabbat' because lighting a fire is prohibited on Shabbat. It is a special time for women to pray while lighting the Shabbat candles. Candle lighting time is approximately 15 minutes before sunset. There are many deeper reasons for candle lighting. It symbolizes the Jewish shine and glory that will always enlighten the world.
Shabbat observance includes the eating of three special meals. Friday night' Shabbat breakfast and Shabbat noon. The Friday night and Shabbat breakfast meal starts with Kiddush, blessing for the Shabbat on a cup of wine. Then the Shabbat challah is eaten. The Shabbat challah is special braided bread, served in whole and cut open by the meal. The meal is followed with gefilte fish, chicken soup egg salad and more. The Shabbat meal is special family time by orthodox Jews. Due to Shabbat observance laws there is no telephone or any other business interruptions. It's the whole family sitting together eating and singing Shabbat songs to Hashem with warmth and love.
On Shabbat, special Shabbat prayers are conducted in synagogues. There is the Friday night prayer, where special prayers are recited and sang to welcome the Shabbat. The Friday night Shabbat prayer includes the special song "Lecha Doidy", come my friend, holy Shabbat, let me welcome you.In the Shabbat Morning Prayer the Torah portion of the week is read loud in the synagogue. In some synagogues the Rabbi will give a speech Shabbat morning before the Torah reading.
There is also an additional prayer in the Shabbat morning services, Misef. Misef resembles the special Karban brought in the temple on Shabbat and special holidays. In the Shabbat afternoon, Mincha prayer a small portion of the coming week Torah portion is read.Have a question, on Orthodox Jewish Matters? Need an answer? Please Email your questions, Chava will answer your questions with insight and wit.
There is much more to the Jewish holy Shabbat observance! Read and enjoy!