Obey My Sabbaths...

The Jewish Sabbath, the seventh day of the week is a day of rest and joy, dedicated to G-d. The sanctity of the seventh day was revealed to Israel during their wanderings in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. According to the Bible, in response to the grumbling of hungry Israelis G-d gave them manna; He commanded that every day the Israelis harvested daily portion, and on the sixth day – double portion to have it enough for the seventh’s day, and on the seventh day the manna will not be revealed; and Moses declared to the people that the seventh day is "Holy G-d’s Shabbat" (Ex. 16:4-30).

The celebration of the Sabbath is a tradition, rooted in the deep past. It is a festive day. Employees and wards of ICF "Jewish Hesed "Bnei Azriel" observe Jewish traditions, including those associated with the Sabbath. We, like all the Jews, in honor of this day put on festive clothes in accordance to kashrut. As you know, in the tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem, Shabbat ritual was accompanied by the sacrifice of two lambs in addition to daily morning burnt offering and the evening sacrifice, renewal of shewbread and the convening of the "Holy convocation" of the people. We do not bring lambs of the sacrifice, but the presence of the essential attributes is required: a table covered with a tablecloth, two lit candles, challah and grape juice (instead of wine).

Shabbat, according to Jewish tradition, begins at sunset on Friday. 18 minutes before sundown the woman (usually the wife of the head of the family) have to light at least two Sabbath candles, one of which corresponds to the verse "remember the Sabbath day" (Ex. 20:8) and the other "observe the Sabbath day" (Deut. 5:12). So our employees – Helen Winn and Irina Sidorovskaya – lit candles and said the blessing: "Blessed are You, l-rd, our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with his commandments and commanded us to light the Sabbath candles". After the candles are lit, we greet each other with "Shabbat Shalom!" And then, after Kiddush, which was conducted by Boris Strugatsky, and washing our hands, during the meal we dedicate time to lessons of the Torah, discussion of topics that help us to better reveal the spiritual wealth of the Jews. Everybody’s faces shined with a quiet joy and peace! The communication was really full of warmth, friendship, attention and mutual respect! No wonder the Sabbath is called the taste of the World to come... But like the taste of any delicacy, no matter how one describes it, it’s impossible to understand without experiencing it yourself, that's the essence of Shabbat. Ultimately, the correct answer to the question of what the Sabbath is, is the following: "Try it!" We are waiting for you, our dear friends!

Shabbat Shalom!