Shabbat Blessings: Chant the Prayers for Shabbat
Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, is the day of rest, a weekly respite where we commemorate the day that God rested from creating the world. It begins as the sun sets on Friday night and ends when the sun sets on Saturday night and three stars are visible in the sky. There are a variety of laws that one observes on Shabbat and those rules can vary depending on what religious movement you identify with: Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, etc. But, no matter which movement you belong to, all say the following prayers on Shabbat: candle blessing, the Friday night Kiddush (blessing over the wine), and the Hamotzi (blessing over the challah bread). So, let’s learn how to recite these Shabbat blessings.
PSST: If you’re interested in learning more about what prayers to say at each of the holidays, take a look at my new eBook, Book of Blessings for the Jewish Holidays. This 18-page, easy-to-follow guide will help you navigate all the Hebrew prayers for every holiday. Click here to purchase a copy for your home.
Shabbat Blessing Over the Candles:
Once the sun sets, we bring in Shabbat by lighting the candles first, and then reciting the blessing. It is customary to light two candles on Shabbat to remember our two commandments surrounding Shabbat. To remember Shabbat “Shamor” and to keep or observe Shabbat “Zakhor.” You can also light more than two candles, one for each member of the household, if you wish.
It is traditional for the female head of household to light the pair of candles with the family all together. But, each family should do what works best for them. After lighting the candles, it is customary for the person who lit them to wave his/her hands around the flame three times in a circular motion before bringing the hands to his/her eyes, covering them, and keeping them covered while reciting the blessing..
בָּרוּךְ אַתַּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיתוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבָּת
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.
TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE
BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm AH-shEHr KEEd-shAH-nOO BEH-mEEtz-vOH-tAHv V-tzEE-vAH-nOO L-hAHd-LEEk NAYr ShEHL ShAH-bAHt.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who sanctified us with the commandment of lighting Shabbat candles.
Shabbat Candle Blessing Chant
Kiddush: Blessing Over the Wine
God declared Shabbat to be holy, so we raise the Kiddush cup and recite the Kiddush (holiness in Hebrew) blessing over the wine, to sanctify Shabbat. After the blessing is recited, the Kiddush cup is passed around so that everyone can take a sip of wine or grape juice from it.
The Kiddush is actually two blessings. The first blessing is the traditional blessing over the “fruit of the vine” which is written just below. The full text of the Kiddush reminds us of the creation story as well as the redemption story — the blessing recalls the Exodus from Egypt.
If you would like to learn to recite the full version of the Kiddush, I have a PDF printable of the text and two recordings available (slow speed to learn and normal speed to practice) on my Bar and Bat Mitzvah Blessings page.
בָּרוּךְ אַתַּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיתוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, borei p’ri hagafen.
TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE
BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm BOH-rAY PEH-rEE hAH-gAH-fEHn.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
Kiddush Blessing Over the Wine Chant
Hamotzi: Blessing Over the Bread
The Shabbat meal officially begins with the Hamotzi, the blessing over the challah bread. Challah is a yeast-risen sweet bread made from eggs that is braided. There are various braiding styles, however, it is commonly braided with somewhere between 3-6 strands of dough. Some challot (plural of challah), however, are made with 12 humps symbolizes the 12 tribes of Israel. There is typically a cover placed over the challah that is removed once you are ready to say the Hamotzi prayer. Take the cover off of the challah, lift the challah up, and say the blessing. The bread is then either sliced or torn and distributed to each person to eat.
It is traditional to have two challahs placed on the Shabbat table. When the Jewish people left Egypt and wandered in the desert for 40 years, manna (a bread-like substance) would fall from the heavens. On the sixth day, a double portion of manna would be provided by God so that the Israelites could rest from gathering food on the Sabbath. I have only grown up celebrating Shabbat with one challah, but I thought it important to share the tradition.
בָּרוּךְ אַתַּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיתוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִי לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, hamotzi lechem min haaretz.
TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE
BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm HAH-mOH-tzEE LEH-chEHm MEEn HAH-AH-rEHtz.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.
Hamotzi Blessing Over the Bread Chant
Download Shabbat Blessings PDF – Printable
Shabbat ends on Saturday night when the sun sets and three stars shine in the sky. The Havdallah ceremony is performed at this time to signify the ending. Don’t leave without checking my Shabbat table setting preparation checklist to learn exactly what ritual items are used on Shabbat.
Did you enjoy learning to chant the Shabbat blessings? You can learn to recite many other prayers on the BMA blog!
What Are the Items That Should Be on the Shabbat Table?
Learn Havdallah Blessings: As Shabbat Ends, the Week Begins
Mi Shebeirach: The Jewish Prayer for Healing
Learn the Torah Blessings: Aliyah Prayer
5 thoughts on “Shabbat Blessings: Learn the Shabbat Prayers”
Shabbat Shalom to you too!
Super helpful. Thanks for sharing, and Shabbat shalom!
Todah rabah for sharing these prayers to learn. Greatly appreciated!
Thank you for sharing. Shalom from Utah