sabbath home ritual 1

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More about Shabbat

SABBATH

Home Rituals for Christians

Keeping holy the seventh day of the week, Sabbath (Shabbat in Hebrew), is a particular ritual tradition of the Jewish people who have a unique relationship with the Sabbath.

However, Jewish tradition also holds that the Sabbath was created as God's gift to all humanity, as recorded in the Book of Genesis in the first creation account. Thus, from a Jewish perspective, it is entriely appropriate for non-Jews to mark the Sabbath, even if they are not bound to observe it as a commandment and according to the prescriptions of Jewish Law.

 

(Note that this is different to the sensitivities around Christian celebration of the Passover seder which is today discouraged by most Catholic Bishops out of respect for the sacredness of this ritual to Jewish communities and the confusion that can be created by "Christianised" seders. This does not preclude Catholics from responding to an invitation from Jews to participate in a seder conducted by a Jewish household/community.)

The holiness of the sixth day of the week and the command to keep it holy is also part of the Church's Scriptures. Pope John Paul II has reflected on the important relationship between Sabbath and Sunday, the latter being the Day of the Lord for Christians and the liturgical highpoint of their week.

 

Without compromising the priority of Sunday worship, some Christians are today rediscovering the joy of celebrating the Shabbat on Friday evening into Saturday in their own homes in ways which are meaningful for them. Two examples of such table rituals can be found here:

Bat Kol Institute also offers a simple Havdalah ritual for Christians to close the Sabbath, influenced by Jewish Havdalah customs but modified to mark the movement from Shabbat into Sunday.