Here’s your Go-To Guide for Shabbat Traditions & Shabbat Essentials

Exodus 34:21: ‘Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest’. The Torah states that Shabbat is the day that God rested after creating the world; the word ‘Shabbat’ literally translates to ‘he rested’.

Jews all around the world commemorate the Shabbat which begins every Friday night at sundown and continues until Saturday evening at sundown. The popular greeting is ‘Shabbat Shalom’ or the Yiddish version ‘Gut Shabbos’. People take time out from their busy schedules to relax and bond with their families – of course, festive food is a given (after all, we Jews take our meals very seriously!).

Lighting of Candles

Candles are lit just before sundown on Friday evening to usher in Shabbat. Customarily, the woman of the house performs this ceremony, but in her absence, anyone may do so. It is traditional to light at least 2 candles and then say the blessing for children, for wine and give thanks for the food.

Most Jewish households have special candlesticks reserved for Shabbat lightings, which hold a place of pride on mantels or décor shelves on other days. Candlesticks are hence, one of the most popular Jewish gifts, being oft-used. 

Explore our exquisite range of candlesticks in sterling silver here.

Eating Challah

A specially braided bread is eaten on Friday night. It is customary to have 2 Challot (plural of Challah) on a Challah board, accompanied by a separate Challah knife and covered with cloth. This represents the double manna that fell from the sky for Israelis to eat. Many Jews love baking this in their homes, making a tradition of it. A part of the dough is set aside teaching us to give others first and stay humble.

Challah Boards with Blessings and Knives are available here.

Performing Kiddush 

Shabbat is traditionally sanctified with wine over which the Kiddush blessing is said. The last words of the brachah (blessing over wine) are ‘borei p’ri hagafen’, referring to the ‘fruit of the vine’. Hence, the wine for Kiddush is made with grapes. For all the children at the Shabbat table, grape juice is their drink!

The wine for Shabbat also signifies celebration – of the Holy day of rest, of the family coming together after a week of hard work and thanking God for all his bountiful blessings.

The Kiddush wine is customarily drunk from special Kiddush cups (most Jewish homes have these in silver). Shop for beautiful Kiddush cups here.

The Havdalah

We bid farewell to Shabbat with a bittersweet Havdalah ceremony. A distinctive candle is lit, wine is poured and sweet spices are used, over which the blessing is said. We sniff the spices in the hopes that their sweet smell is carried forward into the week ahead. The wine is then drunk and the candle doused to mark the end of Shabbat.

Discover our range of Havdalah sets here

Take time out and enjoy the simple pleasures of life that Shabbat has to offer. Our range of Shabbat essentials will surely make it all the more memorable for you. Shabbat Shalom!

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