Friday Night at Home

The traditional Shabbat evening rituals are best shared with family and friends.

Print this page Print this page

The Night

After the meal, the time before going to sleep is usually spent talking to family or friends, and/or in the study of Torah.

Shabbat is the crowning glory in the life of the Jew. Countless generations of Jews followed the advice of Shammai the Elder who, whenever he found some especially tasty bit of food, would set it aside to be eaten on Shabbat. Jews who lived in poverty would deprive themselves all week in order to honor the Sabbath with light, wine, and proper food.

Why are Shabbat meals considered so important? If the Sabbath is a time of spiritual joy, why the concern with eating and drinking? The tale is told of a king who invited one of his subjects to come and dwell in the royal palace. Said the subject to the king, "I have a friend whom I love so dearly that I never allow myself to dwell apart from him. Only if you invite him to be with me can I accept your invitation. The soul refuses to leave the body; true joy can happen only when they rejoice together as one."

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Rabbi Michael Strassfeld

Michael Strassfeld is the rabbi of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, a Reconstructionist synagogue in Manhattan, co-author of The First Jewish Catalog, The Second Jewish Catalog, A Night of Questions: A Passover Haggadah, and author of The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary.

Sharon M. Strassfeld is co-author of the Jewish Catalog series.

Richard Siegel

Richard Siegel is the Interim Director of the School of Jewish Communal Service at HUC-JIR. He worked for 28 years at the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, the last 16 as Executive Director.