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Welcome to the YashaNet Shabbat Center.

We plan to continually add to this section, so check back often.

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When is Shabbat?

Shabbat is the last day of the Hebrew week. God established Shabbat as beginning at sundown on what we call Friday, and lasting until sundown on Saturday.

Levels of Understanding

Just as Scripture may be interpreted at different levels, Shabbat can be understood and kept in various ways as well. At the most literal level, God set this day aside as one where we put aside the cares of the world and focus on Him in many different ways - past, present and future. Man cannot live on bread alone. He needs nourishment from God, and Shabbat is the day He set aside for this.

Searching the Scriptures, we find that the weekly Shabbat is a "shadow" of a "Great Shabbat" in the future, namely the coming of the Kingdom of God. Just as there are six days in the week followed by the seventh day Shabbat, it is taught that the world will exist for six millennia, followed by a seventh one. Many of the teachings on the web sites we recommend (below) will help provide a greater understanding of these concepts. We will also be adding Shabbat-related studies to the YashaNet Shabbat Resource Center in the future.

Meetings

Some groups meet on Friday evenings and some on Saturdays. Our local group has the custom of  setting Friday evenings aside as the private time our families. We get together for our group meeting and study on Saturday mornings.  If you would like to see how we go about our get-togethers, read our article, Starting Your Own Torah Study Group, here on this web site.

Shabbat is a beautiful time no matter if you are attending an established congregation in a big building with music and a structured liturgy, or simply getting together at someone's home. It is not the circumstances that make for a good Shabbat - it is your heart and mental attitude. In fact, even if you are alone with no where to go, you can make Shabbat the most precious time of your week and something to look forward to.

There are several things to do on Shabbat, at one time or another, whether you are alone, a couple, a family, a small group, or a big congregation.

Whether alone or in a group of any size, everyone can do the following:

  • Personal prayer - Shabbat is a special time of great insight and blessing. Prayer both before and after Torah study is important as one impacts the other.
  • Studying the weekly Torah Parsha. Following the yearly cycle is very important for proper spiritual growth. If in a group, the Parsha is something everyone should read ahead of time and have a question or two ready for others to ponder.
  • Additional studies (beyond the Torah portion for the week) - possibly at deeper levels. Again, Shabbat is a time of special blessing and enlightenment. (See our Resources below.)
  • Song and worship - playing Shabbat music in the background is a nice way to get everyone "in the mood" (We have some music recommendations below.) Also, you may want to make some song lyric sheets for people to follow along and learn. (Naturally, this will require at least one person that knows the melodies!)
  • Performing Mitzvot - doing good deeds for others. We can teach all we want - but if we don't help those in need, what good are we? (Ya'acov 2:16)
  • Enjoying a Shabbat meal - perhaps have someone over Friday evening who doesn't know about Shabbat and teach them about it. Learn how to light the candles to welcome in Shabbat, and the different prayers and songs involved and what their meaning is.

If you are with others, you also have the opportunity to do these things:

  • Pray together and for each other - Be sure to follow up on these things during the week. We are to care for one another and are responsible for each other.
  • Open discussion - best for small groups of course (i.e., 2-10 people). Of course you need to know how "open'" you can be in such sessions. Some people are more sensitive than others and make take personal offense to being asked some questions. With time, the people in the group should be encouraged to ask challenging questions of each other. We don't grow by only patting each other on the back every week and saying, "Isn't God great." Iron sharpens iron. Muscles get stronger the more they are "torn" and rebuilt.
  • Teaching children - is there anything more important? Get them involved. Ask them questions. Reading them "Bible stories" is only the first step. Teach them how to think and reason regarding Scripture and its application. They are never too young. My daughter Shoshana has heard the Parsha read, and sat in on our group discussions, every week since she was born.
  • General fellowship - meeting new people. Have some drinks and snack foods available, it encourages people stick around!

If you're a small group or family, you can add a little variety to your Shabbat experience by going to an interesting place for your meeting. Last summer, our group spent the day at a local state park and lake. We conducted our study at a picnic table.

Preparing for Shabbat

Key to having a good Shabbat is preparation -- in fact, "being prepared" is one of the great lessons of Shabbat. Think of the parable Yeshua told of the 10 virgins. The ones that were not prepared did not make it into the "Great Shabbat" feast. You don't want to be rushing on Friday afternoon to get things done before sundown. It's a good idea to have everything you need done completed when you go to bed Thursday night. This leaves Friday free to start preparing you heart and mind to greet the Shabbat.

Some of the practical things to plan for early in the week are:

  • House cleaning - especially if the meeting is at your place!
  • Laundry all done - especially the clothes you plan to wear for Shabbat
  • Food Shopping - especially for the Shabbat meal(s)

Planning involves not only the next immediate Shabbat, but also those coming in the weeks ahead. (i.e., some groups alternate locations, people may have family commitments, etc.)

Naturally, if you are leading the study, you want to be ready with some though-provoking ideas and questions for everyone. This requires setting some time aside ahead of time to prepare yourself. Of course, if your group meets on Saturday, then Friday evening works out well to do this. (But not at the expense of your family time!)

Havdallah

Some groups continue to meet (to socialize and/or study) at the end of Shabbat on Saturday evening. This time is called Havdallah. Remember, Saturday after sundown is the beginning of the "first day of the week." In the "New Testament" we see the early believers getting together for Havdallah. This was very important to them as it gave them greater freedom to talk about Yeshua. It was also the time to take care of business affairs (i.e., collecting money), as this was not done on Shabbat.


RESOURCES

For Kids (and grown-ups too!)

YashaNet Parsha Schedule
 
http://www.ffoz.org/
First Fruits of Zion is a Torah-based site for followers of Yeshua. Click on the link for the TORAH CLUB for kid's stuff! Also check out the HA YESOD link for adult education.
 
http://www.torahtots.com
This is an Orthodox site, and one of the best Shabbat sites for kids of all ages - Easy reading Parsha stories, quizzes, coloring pages and more.

Shabbat Books and Music

7th Heaven - Celebrating Shabbat With Rebbe Nachman of Breslov - Moshe Mykoff
Based on the teachings of Hasidic master Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810) and his disciple Reb Noson, the book is divided into five sections: "On the Way In" (preparing for Shabbat and letting go of the week) ; Shabbat Night (ascent into holiness); Shabbat morning (expanding awareness); Shabbat afternoon (wholeness and harmony) and "On the Way Out" (carrying Shabbat holiness into the everyday). A VERY beautiful book! Available on www.amazon.com
"Torah Rediscovered"
Are you new to the whole idea of Torah? We recommend this thought-provoking book, written by followers of Yeshua. It will cause you to reconsider traditional Christian viewpoints concerning the first five books of the Bible.  Available on www.amazon.com
 
The Living Torah: A New Translation Based on Traditional Jewish Sources
By Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. An amazing work, with Kaplan's translation, notes, maps, illustrations, diagrams, charts and bibliography.  Available on www.amazon.com
 
The Chumash : Stone Edition of the Artscroll Chumash
The Chumash is the five books of Torah with commentary, broken down into the weekly Parshas (readings). This is a beautiful and useful book - it will be "a lifelong friend."  Available on www.amazon.com
 
http://www.teshuvah.com/MLR/catalog.htm
Messianic Liturgical Resources - Shabbat Siddurs, music books
 
http://www.shofarjudaica.com/messianic-music.html
Messianic Music. We highly recommend the two CDs by Steve McConnell, "We Delight" and "HaMoedim."

Online Places of Study

http://www.torah.org
Our favorite place for Shabbat Study. You can sign up to have Parsha commentaries sent to you each week via E-mail. An excellent resource for study leaders.
 
http://www.biu.ac.il/JH/Parasha/eng/
Bar-Ilan University's Parashat Hashavua Study Center. The professors of Bar-Ilan University in Israel dip into their academic disciplines in order to find new meaning in the Torah, the Five Books of Moses.
 
http://www.hagshama.org.il/en/resources/print.asp?id=199
Selections from "Laws of Torah Study" by Moses Maimonides (Rambam). Some "basics" for teaching Torah from one of the greatest teachers of all time.
 
http://www.ou.org/torah/shabbat/default.htm
Orthodox Union's Pearl & Harold M. Jacobs Shabbat Learning Center - the largest dvar Torah resource in Cyberspace.
 
http://www.ou.org/zmanim/
Orthodox Unions's Shabbat and Holiday Candle Lighting Times throughout the world, and Parsha readings.
 
http://www.shabat.co.il/
The Ultimate Shabbat Site - Shabbat Laws, Songs, Recipes, Kids stuff, Audio-video classes, etc.
 
http://www.jewfaq.org/index.htm
Judaism 101 - online encyclopedia of Judaism, covering Jewish beliefs, people, places, things, language, scripture, holidays, practices and customs.
 
http://www.613.org/
Jewish Torah Audio - Over 500 hours of Audio and Video

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