Sabbath

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by Judy Bratten

hcy-SabbathIf anything has distinguished the Jew from the gentile for centuries it has been his dedication to the Sabbath as commanded by God in Exodus 20 (one of the Ten Commandments). In various cultures and times, the ways of keeping the Sabbath varied in detail but not in essence. It is a day of resting from labor and honoring God. All housecleaning and meal preparation are done before sundown of Sabbath eve (Friday night) at which time the woman of the home chants the centuries old Sabbath prayers before flickering candles. The meal begins with blessings over wine and bread (challah, a rich egg dough) and continues as a feast to conclude the ordinary work week. The Sabbath is the soul of the Jew for it is a foretaste of the Eternal Sabbath each child of God longs to spend with the Creator. The Sabbath is called the Queen who helps prepare the Jews for their King and His heavenly Kingdom.

As Hebrew Catholics we observe the Sabbath on the Lord’s Day, Sunday. On Saturday evening, I light the Sabbath candles as I remember my mother doing. My head covered and my hands over my eyes, I recite the blessing, adding a prayer of thanksgiving for Yeshua, the Light who has come into the world.

A prayer over the wine is invoked. The one cup is held by a guest at the table who gives thanks for a particular blessing received that week. After sipping from the cup, he passes it to the next guest and the ritual is repeated around the table.

A prayer over the bread is next. The bread is broken, passed around and eaten.

The Sabbath celebration is a simple yet effective way to bridge the Old Testament with the New Testament. Our children can clearly see, week after week, that Christianity is rooted in Judaism and it is the same God who commands, forgives and blesses.

Service

Mother lights the candles and says:

Baruch ahtaw adonoi, elohaynu melech haolum,
asher kiddishawnu bamitzvosuv, vitsivawnu lichadlich nehr, shabbat kadosh

(Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe,
who has sanctified us by thy commandments
and has commanded us to kindle the holy Sabbath lights.)

Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe,
who has given us thy only begotten Son, Yeshua, the light of the world.

Mother prays silently for her family

Father lifts up cup of wine and says:

Baruch ahtaw adonoi, elohaynu melech holum, boray p-ree haguffin

(Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who createst the fruit of the vine.)

Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has given us the blood of thy Son, Yeshua, which sanctifies and redeems us.

Father takes a moment to share something of the week’s happenings for which he is thankful, sips the wine and passes the cup. The ritual continues around the table until the cup returns to the father.

Father holds up the loaf of bread and says:

Baruch ahtaw adonoi, elohaynu melech holum, hamotzi lechem min haw oretz

(Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who gives us the fruits of the earth.)

Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe,
who has given us thy Son, Yeshua, the Bread of Life.
May we partake of this bread with thanksgiving and an awareness of our part in the Body of Christ.

The bread is broken and passed around.

All: Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has given us this Sabbath of rest and joy.

Father: Grant that we may one day celebrate the eternal Sabbath with Thee in Heaven. And may all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

All: Amen.

Father: We ask this in the Name of Thy Son, Yeshua, who lives and reigns with Thee and Ruach haKodesh, one God, for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

  • You are my witnesses (Is. 43:10)  •  You shall be my witnesses (Acts 1:8)