"Call the Shabbat a delight"—Isaiah 58:13.

On the weekly Shabbat (Sabbath), we rise above the workweek’s distractions and frustrations, and focus on higher goals, such as G‑d and family. We delight in the Shabbat by partaking of three meals, when families can bond and be inspired. The first two – Friday night and Shabbat lunch – are lavishly prepared, with sumptuous foods and special dishes. The third, taken towards Shabbat's end, is usually a lighter repast.

The Preliminaries:

The table is bedecked with an elegant tablecloth, Shabbat candles, the "special" dishes, and two covered challahs. The first two meals open with the kiddush, recited over a cup of wine.

After the kiddush, ritually wash your hands for bread. The head of the household takes the challahs, scores one of them with a knife, says the Hamotzie blessing, and slices a loaf. Everyone eats a piece of challah dipped in salt.

The Food:

Splurging on the Shabbat meals is a virtue. It's a mitzvah to indulge in fine wine and tender meatSplurging on the Shabbat meals is a virtue. It's a mitzvah to indulge in fine wine and tender meat.

The traditional Shabbat meal is multi-coursed, and includes fish, soup, meat or poultry, and side dishes. (Serve fish and meat/poultry as separate courses, on separate cutlery and dishes.) For the lunch meal, it is customary to eat "cholent," a casserole-like dish prepared before Shabbat and kept warm overnight on the stove.

Song and Inspiration:

Enjoy quality family time. Get caught up in singing spirited Jewish songs. The special, holy feeling they imbue is indescribable. Share words of Torah. Prepare a thought for discussion, perhaps something on the week's Torah reading. Capture your children's imagination with a Jewish story.

Conclude with Grace After Meals.


  • Want an invite to a Shabbat meal? Your local Chabad rabbi will be happy to accommodate you!
  • Conclude all cooking and baking before Shabbat, and certain types of food preparation are regulated on Shabbat, too.