Devotional - Health topics

A Healthful Shabbat

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, . . . then you will find your joy in the Lord. Isa. 58:13, 14, NIV.

The Sabbath has always been a delight to me, but it was during the six months my family spent studying in Israel that we really discovered oneg Shabbat (Sabbath delight) and what it can mean to family health and happiness.

Come with me for a few moments and visit a Jewish home in Israel as the family members welcome the Sabbath.

A white cloth covers the table, and it is set for the Sabbath meal. On it rest two loaves of braided (challah) bread, a bottle of wine (we would use sparkling grape juice), and a goblet, silver candlesticks, candles, and flowers. The family members have dressed in their best clothes. All are ready to receive royalty—“Queen Sabbath.”

Long before the sun actually sets, the family in their eager expectation begins its Sabbath celebration. The mother has the honor of officially receiving the Sabbath by kindling the Sabbath lights. The children watch her light the candles. Then we hear her offering a prayer of blessing upon the family: “Grant me and all my loved ones a chance to truly rest on this Sabbath day.”

The father tenderly takes his children in his arms or places his hands on their bowed heads and recites a blessing for each.

Then for all comes the priestly dedication: “May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord cause His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; may the Lord lift up His countenance toward you and give you peace.”

The woman’s place of honor on the Sabbath and her exalted position in the home are then again emphasized as the husband sings to his wife from Proverbs 31, extolling her virtues: “Many women have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all!”

Next comes the Sabbath meal, with the special blessing over the challah bread and the special Sabbath courses. On Sabbath the family eats the choicest food of all the week. During the meal the family heartily sings joyous table hymns reflecting the feeling and mood of the Sabbath. In the singing, eating, and fellowship the family can forget their weekday burdens, worries, and sorrows.

What could you do to make the Sabbath a greater delight for your family?

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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