Keeping Shabbat 101 – it's much easier than you think!
Shalom to you all.
In my previous blog post on Shabbat, I shared what I believe to be the heart of Shabbat - the 5 R’s of Sabbath or Shabbat. For me this has been the most essential focus. If you don’t start here, the Sabbath will become a burden and a heaviness that will actually create more unrest than recovery!
Deuteronomy/D’varim 30:11 says,”For this mitzvah which I am giving you today is not too hard for you, it is not beyond your reach.” CJB
None of Adonai’s commandments should be a burden – I feel that the minute they do feel burdensome is when we begin to operate out of our flesh and not out of a deep reverence and love for Abba Father, we start trying to do all His mitzvah in our strength and that has happened to me many times!
So, if you are new to this day and keeping the Sabbath – remember when you rest in Father and on this treasured day – The Sabbath will keep you!
So, first of all where does the Sabbath come from and why should we still keep it today?
When Adonai Elohim created the world – the very first thing He declared holy was time. And it was this day – this seventh day that He called holy, kadosh, which means set apart.
Genesis/B’reisheet 2: 3 And Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because He rested from all His work on it, which Elohim had created to make. (HSRB)
It is a day that our Abba Father takes very seriously, He makes it the 4th commandment and commands His children to remember this day and to keep His Sabbaths for all generations. Not just until Yeshua returned to earth to fulfil prophecy but for all generations.
Exodus/Vayikra 31:13 And you speak to the sons of Israel, charging them, only My Sabbaths you shall keep; for it is a sign between Me and you for your generation; to know that I am YAHWEH your sanctifier. (HRSB)
This seventh day is not to be as all the other days. It is to be a day that is uniquely different from all the others, a day for us to do as our Creator, Elohim did, to walk in His rhythm by keeping his ways and His timing.
What did He do? He rested from all His work.
Keeping this day separate from other days is an entirely new thought process for those of us who used to believe this day was no longer relevant or necessary. It will firstly take a new mindset and a completely new and set apart routine to find your rhythm in keeping it.
Father is so intentional about us and this is such a simple way of us being intentional about Him. This day is a forever sign between Abba Father and His Bride – how can we not be intentional about marking it and setting it apart for Him and for us? It is like His wedding ring to us – promising His provision and His covering over us for all generations.
Once I had gotten the hang of resting and letting go of work on this day (it's crazy but I struggled to rest!) I found myself often being unprepared for the Sabbath – I ran out of milk or bread or had forgotten to do my shopping and so would find myself running off to do these things on the very day I was meant to be resting.
Step #1 “Be Prepared!
Plan ahead as far as possible and get all your shopping done for the weekend in the week. Make a list of all the things you would possibly need and want and ensure your cupboards are ready for tools down. This is why on the 6th day, Adonai told the Israelites in the wilderness to collect a double portion of manna to prepare for the Sabbath.
So, next question… should we be boiling or preparing food on this day?
Exodus 16:23 YAHWEH said, Tomorrow is a rest, a holy Sabbath to YAHWEH. What you will bake, bake. And boil what you will boil. And lay up for yourselves all that is left over, to keep it until the morning. (HRSB)
I like to start cooking early on Friday afternoon if I can so that by the time Shabbat arrives all I have to do it dish up, or we order take away. Then I make sure there are left overs for Saturday. A nice idea is to make pancakes and leave them in the fridge that you can warm up on a Saturday morning for breakfast. Essentially, we need to prepare to have as little to do on the Sabbath as possible. If you don’t have a dishwasher you could use paper plates that can be thrown in the bin.
Another tip for the neat freaks out there (yes, I am one of them) is to get everyone to use one set of everything and rinse these after each use. If you have young children – it is never too early to teach them this for their Shabbat – they could have a special Shabbat bowl and cup that they only get to use on this day.
Step # 2 Create a routine
For those of us who have not grown up with keeping Shabbat it doesn’t come so naturally – there were so many times that it would be 7pm and I had totally forgotten that Shabbat had started! (Especially living in Cape Town, where the sun only sets after 8pm in summer!)
So, I started setting my alarm and became very intentional about keeping this day and marking it in time for our family.
Now the alarm is no longer needed and very often the whole family is sitting waiting, ready to light the candles sometimes half an hour before sundown!
I make sure I have my two challah loaves, grape juice or wine and my candles ready – it has become a Friday ritual and we all love it! We don’t always eat the second challah loaf and that becomes our Saturday snack.
Step # 3 Mark it
The beautiful tradition in Jewish homes is for the mother or wife of the home to light the two Shabbat candles and to pray a blessing as Shabbat begins. We are not commanded in the word to kindle the Sabbath lights but it is such a beautiful way to mark the start of our rest – to behold the Light of the World, Yeshua - that we do this as Sabbath begins. We gather as a family around our table and I light the candles and say a prayer.
It is often with anticipation that I wait for this moment because I literally cannot wait for this rest to officially begin! It is my greatest joy on Friday evening.
My husband then blesses the wine and shares this and then the bread – oh, the delicious challah loaves! What a sweet and soft taste that begins this treasured time in our home. We remember the wine – the fruit of the vine that Father has given us; we remember the blood of the Passover lamb posted on the doorposts of the Israelites homes – the blood of our Yeshua – who saved us from death; we remember the provision of the sweet manna in the desert and that Father instructed the Israelites to collect a double portion on Friday to prepare for the Sabbath; we remember the body of our Yeshua that was broken for us at Passover when He breathed His last breath for our eternal salvation.
Once we have shared the wine and the bread my husband blesses our children and myself and I like to pray for him too. This way we mark the end of the week, the end of the challenges for that week and a newness to come from resting in our El Elyon – the Most High.
Step # 4 Deprogramme
It is not easy for any of us to start a new thing. We are such creatures of habit – so it may take a few weeks of practice making this part of your life.
We need to reframe how we view the Sabbath. For many of us the Sabbath is an archaic way of life that belongs somewhere deep in the ancient days of Abraham but that could not be further from the truth.
The Sabbath was created for us:
Mark 2:27 Then he said to them, “Shabbat was made for mankind, not mankind for Shabbat. (CJB)
This is a day our great Rabbi Yeshua kept and it is as surely for us, his disciples now as it was then, to walk in his footsteps and do as He did.
Let go of your work and your “To do list” – this is a day that should be free of burdens and stress. Do what brings you joy and most importantly spend time with your Abba Father.
This is going to take an intentional focus to let go of your technology that links you to work and those ever-growing task lists. I know that whatever we see as a priority is what gets significant place in our lives – if you are not spending enough time in the Word… is it really a priority?
Our family often spend the entire day in our pyjamas but it is not our rule. I don’t make the bed – in the beginning this really irked me but after a while it became so liberating, I was free of the pressure to be perfectly neat on this one day in the week! And that in itself gave my husband so much peace!
Step # 5 Let go and enjoy it!
So often we sweat over every finite detail and we begin to create mountainous lists of do’s and don’t’s for ourselves, that eventually we feel so overwhelmed by just the mere idea of incorporating this foreign practice into our lives.
The Shabbat was created for us – to give us peace and rest. If you are not feeling either of those things around Shabbat then I recommend you take it to Abba Father and see where you are being burdened by what you believe you can and can’t do.
This day is about Father and you – you need to find your fit for this amazing day and as you press in, the Ruach Hokodesh will guide you.
We have a great little book and DVD that will guide you through this wonderful journey of discovery of what this actually has to do with you! (Click Here to check it out)
Just remember as you begin this shift into rest - the most important thing is to enjoy it! It is part of your health and wellness and it was made just for you by our Creator God!
Shabbat shalom in advance!
If you would like more information on this topic or any other related topic please feel free to email us at email@example.com
Also beautiful post on Shabbat! I love all of your recommendations and am encouraged by your advice.
Malita, have you heard of Torah Club? You can search the site by your location for meetings near you of Messianics in your area for fellowship and support 🤍
Touching His Hem
So sorry for the late reply – it is so encouraging to read your comment and I am so happy the Sabbath is starting to make more sense to you and that you and your family are entering into Abba’s rest! #beblessedasyourest
Shalom💕 Thank you so much for this. We are new to celebrating Shabbat so this article is very helpful.
Michelle Touching His Hem
Shalom Vicky, Thank you so much for your comment on our blog. Of course you can use battery operated candles. Lighting candles is not a command but rather a beautiful tradition that helps us intentionally mark the time.
May you be blessed indeed as you keep Shabbat.