Genesis tells us the following:
“In The Beginning …the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array. And on the seventh day G-d finished the work which He had been doing, and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work which He had done. And G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on it G-d ceased from all the work of creation which He had done.” (Genesis 2:1-3)
As in all things we attempt in our walk in life to emulate and immitate G-d in all his actions.As G-d stopped creating on the seventh day, we cease any physical creation and engage in spiritual creation. We in essence fashion the shabbat out of physical time and thereby create a vessel for G-d’s Presence.
We are commanded to “Observe the Shabbat and keep it holy(Deuteronomy 5:12) ” and to “Remember the Shabbat and keep it holy (Exodus 20:8 ” ). In a very deep spiritual way we believe that both statements were said” in the same Divine breath”.Our decision to curtail all the activities of our secular existence and at the same time reach for the spiritual heights form the basis of this Divine ritual. A ritual that has become so integral in Jewish life. Our sages stated that just as the Jews have kept Shabbat , the Shabbat has kept the Jews.
Every major spiritual event is marked by a sanctification of the moment or the day.By so doing a spiritual oasis is carved out of the mundane length of time in our physical world. In many cases the sanctification of the day or moment is pronounced over a goblet of wine. One might wonder why wine is used if in fact wine can lead to actions that are the opposite of the Sanctification of G-d”s name.
Yet wine is used, exactly for that reason. Taking something that can lead away from G-dliness and grabbing hold of it and raising that to G-d in blessing achieves the greatest sanctification of G-d’s name .
When expressing the ten commandments , G-d makes two pronunciations “in the same breath”
Zachor: Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord, . …… (Exodus 20:8-11)
Shamor: Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord,…( Deuteronomy 5:12-15)
Remember and reach for the Holiness and observe keep out the mundane.By so doing the house becomes a welcome place of light and spirituality . by so doing the house becomes a welcome home for G-d’s presence.
The lighting of the candles marks the point of transformation . A Jewish couple will light at least two candles, one for Zachor and one for Shamor . As their family grows there is also a custom of adding a candle for every new child.
Two portions or loaves of Challah bread that are placed on the tablein commemoration of the double portion of Mannah that the Isaelites recieved prior to the shabbat.The Manna represented G-d’s provision of blessing and sustenance. We are told that the dew covered the Manna and preserved it. Today we drape a Challah cover over the Challah loaves in commemoration of the miracle of the Dew covering. In addition we cover the bread , the ultimate staple of life to allow for the Blessing over wine that preceeds it.