First of all, as a family we decided that Friday evenings simply would not work for us due to already established routines, so we opted to share our Shabbet meal on Saturday evenings when the whole family was guaranteed to be together.
This morning started with The Day Of Preparation. As far as that was concerned, I didn't really have to do a whole lot. I will never have a sparkling clean home, but I do pretty much try to straighten house every night before going bed and I normally spend Saturdays cleaning and getting things ready for Sunday morning service in our home anyway, so, as far as all that goes, today was really no different than any other Saturday. I did do a couple of extra things that I wouldn't normally do in preparation for tonight, but the biggest thing for me was preparing the hallah bread.
After I got the dough finished and had the first loaf of bread braided and on the cookie sheet to rise I remembered Nancy Campbell saying somewhere that hallah bread is traditionally an eggy bread and that she just uses her regular bread recipe and adds a couple of eggs to it. So, I grabbed the bread back up off the cookie sheet, threw it in the Kitchen-Aid, threw in a couple of eggs and an extra 1/2 cup of flour and, after it was well mixed, reformed my loaves, let them rise, and baked them. I was worried that they might not turn out right, but they did. In fact, they were very good! (It sounds like we ate them both for supper tonight, but we didn't! We still have a full loaf left for tomorrow. :)
When it was time for the meal, and since it was our first time, I brought Nancy's article The Shabbet Meal with me to the table so I could make sure that we were doing everything in order (at least in the order the Campbell's do it because that's all I really know about it). It was definitely different, but it was also very beautiful!
I dressed the table in white...white table cloth, white plates, white napkins, white candles in crystal candle holders...and used my best silverware and glasses. I made sure there were fresh flowers, too. The table was simple, yet extra pretty!
|Our First Shabbet Table|
When we were seated we held hands and my husband prayed. Then I lit the candles and thanked the Lord for being the Creator of Light and for His Son, the Light of the World, Jesus Christ. I asked that He would fill us with His Light and that it would shine forth out of us unto others.
After that, my husband read Proverbs 31:10-31 aloud and blessed me by saying some really sweet things about me. When it was my turn I read Psalm 112 and blessed my husband by saying some sweet things about him. Our son couldn't help grinning, chuckling, and blushing through this part!
|My Husband Reading From Proverbs 31:10-31|
|Me In The Middle Of Blessing My Husband|
|Our Son Grinning and Blushing Over The Blessings|
After the scripture reading and blessings of husband and wife, my husband blessed our son that was at the table with us, and spoke scriptural vision and blessings over him and our married children and their families, as well. Our son blessed us by quoting a verse of scripture that he had memorized in Hebrew several years back.
Next, I passed around a bowl of water with a towel and we each washed our hands. This wasn't done for the sake of cleanliness, but is symbolic of having clean hands and a pure heart before God. At this time we made apologies for things that needed apologizing for.
After the hand washing came the blessing over the bread and grape juice. My husband gave the blessing, then we all broke a piece of bread off of one of the big loaves (this symbolizes Christ's body that was broken for us) and dipped it in the olive oil dip that I had made for this occasion (1/4 cup olive oil, 2 T. balsamic vinegar, 2 T. Parmesan cheese, 5 cloves of crushed garlic, oregano, basil, and black pepper).
While the guys continued to enjoy the bread and oil, I got up and brought the rest of the food to the table. Per my husband's request, I prepared a fresh, green salad with vinegar and oil and tortellini with marinara sauce. The meal was delicious and we took our time to savor each bite.
After the meal was over it was time to clean up.
All in all, even though it was different and strange, I think our first Shabbet meal went very well, and my husband was delighted! He just kept thanking me over and over for taking the time and effort to do this for our family. I think it's something that he's wanted to do for a very long time. I also think that we are all already looking forward to our next Shabbet meal!
(For further reading on how one marriage was saved through the Shabbet meal, be sure and read Make Every Meal A Love Affair over at ABOVE RUBIES website.)