“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to The Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days The L-rd made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore The L-rd blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20
On the Sabbath…
Shabbat is a holy day. It is the first thing that G-d calls holy. Therefore, keeping it is a spiritual issue. We are told to remember it and to observe it. We are encouraged over and over in the Scriptures not to desecrate this holy day. It is a specific time that is set apart from the rest of the week and honored as a day unto Adonai. Everything that we do or do not do should have these truths at the heart of them.
What do we do on Shabbat?
We attend services at our Messianic synagogue. Why?
- Shabbat is a day of community celebration. Leviticus 23.3
- Shabbat is a day of congregational focus on the creator.
- The New Covenant encourages our gathering together. Hebrews 10:45
- Worshipping together helps us to set the day aside for G-d and not to desecrate it.
The Shabbat Morning Service is called Shacharit. This comes from the Hebrew word, rja, which means dawn or daybreak. It is divided into several sections which can vary depending on which Siddur you might use or which synagogue you attend. Morning Blessings
- Pesukey Zimrot
- Shema and Its Blessings
- Morning Blessings – These blessings are found in a traditional prayer book and start with a blessing over the washing of one’s hands and includes blessings about getting up, dressing, and in general preparing for the day. These prayers were originally said at home but in an orthodox synagogue they would be included in the service.Three prayers that are found in this section are more communal in nature. They are Mah Tovu, Adon Olam and Yigdal. The Mah Tovu prayer is BaMidbar (Numbers) 24.5. It is an expression of reverence for the place where G-d’s glory dwells, in this context – the synagogue. Adon Olam – Master Eternal is a prayer that was written by Rabbi Shlomo ibn Gabirol in the 11th century. Some synagogues will not include this in the morning service. It is at the beginning of the service in honor of Abraham who was the first to address G-d as Adon – Master. It speaks of the omnipotence and eternity of HaShem and that our only response is to declare Him as king. The Yigdal – Exalted was written in the 14th century by an Italian Jewish man name Daniel of Rome. It recites the Thirteen Creeds of Maimonides.
- Pesukey Zimrot – Verses of Song or Songs of Praise. These officially begin the public service. Included among these songs are Tehillim (Psalm) 145-150. All of these exalt G-d and His power and majesty. They are very joyful. In fact the Psalmist uses five different words for joy within these passages. The intent of these songs is to inspire us to worship and praise Adonai. They are to help awaken us and make us filled with great expectation as we come to worship G-d. These psalms remind us that G-d orchestrates and sustains the whole universe and that the response of the universe is to burst out into praise.There are also different songs that are comprised of verses from different chapters of Tehillim along with passages from Divrei HaYamim (Chronicles) and Nechemyah (Nehemiah). The last “song” in this list is the Shir Moshe – the Song of Moses from the Red Sea.And introductory Psalm that was added in the 17th century is Psalm 30. It was added to the morning prayer service as a prelude to the Pesukey Zimrot because its context is the inauguration of the Temple. Therefore it was thought to be an appropriate Psalm to include in the morning service.These verses of song are preceded by a long blessing entitled Baruch she’amar – blessed is He who spoke and closes with another blessing entitled Yistabach – Praised be Your Name.
- The Shema and Its Blessings