The Friday night Kiddush (Which means “sanctification”) is the traditional way to kick off the Sabbath. It is meant to occur just before sundown and is followed by dinner. It is a simple ceremony, with only a few key elements, but what is neat about it is there is a lot of room for flexibility. You can customize it to make it special for you and your family.
The purpose is to sanctify – set apart unto God – the coming day, as a sign that it is God who sanctifies – or sets apart – us, His people. The following is an adaptation of what we have done in our family. Feel free to research it more online and make it your own.
CLICK HERE to download this guide, as well as the challah bread recipe in a PDF document.
Preparation (What You Will Need):
- 2 Candles (additional candles if you have children and would like to light one for each child).
- Bread. Any good bread will do, but I’ve included a recipe for some good, traditional braided challah bread to be made in advance.
- Wine or grape juice. Find a nice goblet or cup to pour it in, and fill it full. (NOTE: In the ceremony, the cup is usually shared by everyone. If that is a concern due to threat of sickness, use individual, smaller cups)
- Napkin or cloth. Use this to cover the bread.
- Bowl with water.
First, turn off all the lights in the house. The two main candles are lit by the wife or woman of the house (adapt as necessary for single-parent households). After lighting the candles, she recites the following blessing:
“Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who set us apart through your commandments, and commanded us to be a light to the nations, and who gave us Jesus our Messiah, the Light of the World.”
RESPONSE (everyone in unison, or “repeat after me”):
“May the Lord bless us with Sabbath Joy.
May the Lord bless us with Sabbath Holiness.
May the Lord bless us with Sabbath peace.”
Now greet one another: “Shabbat shalom!”
Blessing and Prayers
Begin by offering up any applicable prayers for loved ones who are not present.
PARENTS: Light a candle for each child, then individually place a hand on each child’s head and pray a blessing:
“May God make you like Jesus. May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Now take a moment to whisper something into the child’s ear (praise, acknowledgment of a good deed from the past week… something meaningful).
The Father Blesses the Mother
“Proverbs 31:10–11: An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.”
The Blessing of the Wine
The Father takes the cup in his hands and recites the following (Begin vs. 31 in an undertone, and crescendo into vs. 1):
Genesis 1:31–2:3 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
- Now Thank God for the gift of the Sabbath Day:
FAMILY REPEATS AFTER FATHER: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine – Jesus – Amen.”
John 15:5 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
(The following is my own adaptation of what is traditionally recited)
FATHER CONTINUES: “Blessed are You Lord, King of the Universe, who made us holy with his commandments and redeemed us by the blood of Jesus, and gave us His holy Sabbath as a reminder of the Creation, which sustains us. It also marks our exodus from slavery – out of Egypt, and finally out of sin and death itself. Though the whole earth belongs to You, you have made us your most treasured possession. We are made a new Creation by the blood of Jesus.
- It is customary at this point to pass the cup and share some of the wine/juice.
The Blessing of the Bread
- First, use the bowl of water to wash hands (symbolizing purity in Christ).
- Uncover the bread, touch it, and recite the following:
“Blessed are You, Lord our God, master of the universe, who gives us the living bread from heaven. Amen.”
Pass the bread around for each person to have a piece.
Now eat a good dinner together. Stay at the table until everyone is finished, and end with a prayer of thanks.