HOW TO CELEBRATE SHABBAT!
One of the most exciting teachings in Jewish roots is the revelation of the Sabbath, or as it’s called in Hebrew, Shabbat. This special day is an appointed time on heaven’s calendar just like all the other Biblical Holidays described in Leviticus 23 including Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.
Shabbat begins just before sundown every Friday night and is ordained by God to be a miracle opportunity for you and your family to receive an outpouring of peace, prosperity, healing, joy, and many other wonderful blessings.
It’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced and it will immediately bring you and your family together in the presence of the Lord. This is why Hebrews 4 teaches us to be diligent to enter into the Sabbath rest.
OFFERING FOR THE POOR
The Sabbath begins with an offering for the poor. This is known as the Mitzvah of Tzedakah (the commandment to do good). Each member of the household puts an amount of money in the Tzedakah Box to be given for some charitable cause.
This is a valuable opportunity for the whole gathering to display and develop the spirit of giving, especially within the children. It’s fitting that just before we light the candles and enter into the blessing of the Lord that we show our willingness to be a light to the world by being a blessing to others.
SHABBAT CANDLE LIGHTING
The lighting of the candles marks the beginning of the Sabbath.
It’s traditional for the ladies to light the candles because according to the ancient teachings it is the ladies who are God’s centerpiece for bringing light, peace, joy and harmony into their home and then into the world. When the ladies finish the prayer and open their eyes, Shabbat begins.
This powerful moment is much more than a ritual and represents an important time of transition from the natural into the supernatural presence of God. There are usually two candles, which symbolize Sabbath peace and Sabbath blessing. The two candles also represent the two Shabbat commandments; to remember the Sabbath and also to keep it.
The number of candles that are lit can vary, with two candles being the minimum. You may also wish to light a candle for each of the children and especially any unmarried daughters in the family for their future spouse.
Remember, nothing we do during Shabbat is meant to be legalistic and we should never take an all or nothing approach. Shabbat is a special day and should be a celebration!
SHABBAT PRAYERS YOU CAN SPEAK OVER YOUR FAMILY BLESSING OVER THE WIFE AND MOTHER
Shabbat is meant to bring the family closer to God and closer to each other. So, as the evening continues the husband reads Proverbs 31 to honor his wife and all the ladies of the household.
As the scripture is being read and ‘confessed’ over the ladies of the family it conveys a powerful spiritual truth to everyone, that the wife and women of the house are to be admired, respected and valued.
The children too will sense and feel the harmony, unity and closeness God intends to be apart of the marriage relationship. When finishing the scripture reading the husband can pray a special prayer over his wife and any ladies in attendance.
BLESSING OVER THE FATHER AND HUSBAND
A special blessing and prayer for the husband is not part of the traditional Jewish service however the wife is certainly welcomed and encouraged to select and read scriptures and pray a special blessing over her husband and any men gathered.
God’s values, teachings and commandments are to be primarily passed down to each generation by both Dad and Mom. It’s so much easier to fulfill our family mission when the father is seen in his role as the ‘high priest’ of the family. God intends for the man to initiate the blessing of love, peace, joy, wisdom, favor, strength, and healing in the home. Taking a few moments to acknowledge the role of the Father and pay him honor and respect will add a powerful dimension to the evening.
Remember, Shabbat is never meant to be legalistic. We can feel free to add special touches through-out the celebration that make it unique and memorable for the family.
BLESSING THE CHILDREN
God has a wonderful destiny and divine assignment for every child. The weekly Sabbath blessing over the children is a divine appointment to release the flow of God’s power and purpose into their lives. It is also a special occasion for the children to really sense and feel just how much they are loved.
Traditionally the father puts their hands on the children as they are blessed however the mother can also participate. This blessing can always be accompanied by a special prayer.
The first blessing is over the sons: May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.
Now why Ephraim and Manasseh? Ephraim and Manasseh were Joseph’s sons and they were the first brothers of the Bible that got along. Up until then you had, Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and all his brothers. But Ephraim and Manasseh were different in that they did not fight with each other. Once you speak this blessing it is customary to pray over all the sons in the family; both for those in attendance and those that are away.
Then the daughters are blessed: May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.
These were all great women of the Bible, the matriarchs of our faith, who raised their families in the ways of God and influenced the world with the teachings of God. When we speak this blessing we are releasing their godly traits and qualities over our daughters. Again, once you speak this blessing it is customary to pray over all the daughters in the family; both for those in attendance and those that are elsewhere.
Afterwards there is a tradition that says to go and whisper something in their ear. Tell them you are proud of them. Remind them how much you love them. Say something positive about them. Or if they are not there, call them, or write them a little note.
Shabbat is a time of great joy and thanksgiving and the wine is a symbol of that joy. As we lift up our cup before the Lord we remember His many blessings and convey an attitude of thankfulness for all that He has done in our lives.
We reconnect to the revelation that no matter what we may have faced during the week, on the Sabbath we enter into the presence, blessing and joy of the Lord, which is our strength.
As New Testament believers we have an added revelation concerning the redemptive work of our Messiah. Jesus likened the Passover wine to His blood and then He shed His blood in 7 places so we could be redeemed, restored and blessed in every area of life. Shabbat then is a type of communion that provides us another opportunity to re-establish these powerful truths in our life, for our family, with our health, in our finances and more.
WASHING OF THE HANDS
One of the deeper teachings of Shabbat is with the washing of the hands. Water represents God’s spiritual wisdom and divine power. It is also symbolic of baptism which washes off the limitations and curses of this world so that we can live in the supernatural power of God.
This takes place just before we break the bread of prosperity because we are making the statement that we don’t want to earn a living on our own wisdom or the wisdom of this world. We look to God who gives us wisdom liberally so that every thing we put our hands too will prosper.
You wash the right hand first by pouring water over it twice; then pour water twice over the left hand. The first washing is to break off the curses of this world and wash away the limitations. The second washing is to release God’s wisdom, anointing and power.
The Challah bread is a specially braided bread and symbolic of the double portion of God’s provision. During the wilderness experience God caused a double portion of manna to fall, so the children of Israel wouldn’t have to work on the Sabbath. This miracle is commemorated each Friday by blessing two loaves of Challah at the Shabbat meal.
It’s traditional to keep the bread covered on both the top and the bottom until this time in the meal because it represents another aspect of God’s miracle provision. The dew on the top was to preserve the blessing and the dew on the bottom was to add flavor to the provision. It’s all symbolic of what God wants to do with our blessing today.
God is saying to us, “I am Jehovah Jireh your Provider”, and when you keep the Sabbath, I will abundantly provide whatever you’re hungry for. I will always preserve and protect you. My blessing will add great flavor and quality to your life. What a reminder to ourselves and our family that the blessing of God is supernatural; that this is not by might, not by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.
The bread of course is an important symbol of the new covenant, faith in the Messiah and of communion. So as we lift up the two loaves toward heaven and speak the blessing we follow with a prayer that releases the many benefits of New Covenant.
After the blessing you take the bread and dip it in salt. In the Temple salt was offered together with every sacrifice (Leviticus 2:13). Salt never spoils or decays, therefore, it is symbolic of our eternal covenant with God. That’s why the verse refers to it as “the salt of your God’s covenant. Salt also adds taste to everything and our covenant with God is supposed to add meaning and flavor to every moment of our lives. Shabbat Shalom