When our family first began to keep the Sabbath as a Holy day I was a little overwhelmed in trying to accomplish all my Sabbath preparations on time. As the weeks progressed, I was continually coming up short of time on Friday afternoon. I began to see the need to rearrange my entire weekly routine so we could prepare for a peaceful Shabbat rather than be exhausted when Friday evening arrived.
If we begin our week with anticipation of the Sabbath, then all our work for the week will lead up to a blessed rest day. The first day of our week is our farm work and home school planning day. This day sets in motion the Monday through Thursday school days.
We usually grocery shop on Wednesday afternoon. I check my pantry and determine what delicious menu items we will prepare for Friday evening and make sure that we have wine, grape juice, and all the baking supplies on hand to create the best dinner of the week.
Thursday is our baking day. We make two loaves of challah (braided bread) for the Sabbath table. We braid this bread with 12 pieces of dough representing the 12 tribes of Israel. Sometimes, instead of braiding we twist two pieces of dough together for the the Two Sticks of Ezekiel 37. We also bake a special dessert for Erev (Eve of) Shabbat and cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We do our baking on Thursday because it makes such a mess in our kitchen. When we used to bake on Friday morning, but it took up too much time from our house cleaning. So we had to adjust the baking to the day before our main preparation day for Shabbat. On Thursday afternoon I also prepare something to eat for our fellowship gathering on Sabbath.
I really like Fridays. In our home we do a life-skills home school day and do a team work job of cleaning the house. We have our home divided into cleaning zones. Each one of our school aged children have a zone to keep up with during the week and they really make them shine on Friday morning. Since we currently have seven children who are able to work we have the house divided into seven zones. Ben, our eldest, is in charge of the second floor bedroom and the loft. Matt is responsible to clean the living room and sun room. John takes care of the kitchen and dining room. Sarah cleans the bathrooms and the master bedroom, Daniel cleans the main hallway and the little boy’s bedroom. Luke tidies up the yard and organizes the basement closet and garage area. Bethany, our 5 year old, cleans her room with my supervision. We try to keep Aaron, our pre-schooler helping someone so he is not making a mess while we are cleaning up.
To make sure that the children do a thorough house cleaning I have typed up lists for each zone so they know what they are supposed accomplish. When they are finished I check the list to make sure they have completed all their work. Then we go out to lunch and take a trip to the library. We return to a tidy home for nap time and read library books.
Late in the afternoon I begin dinner and we set the table with all the finery we have. In the spring and summer we pick flowers for our table. We set out our Sabbath candles and light an oil lamp in between the candles. We light the oil lamp early in case we are unable to come to the table before the sun sets. With the flame of the oil lamp we light our Shabbat candles. I like to keep the oil lamp burning all of Shabbat as a reminder that we are to be prepared as the five wise virgins for the return of Yahshua.
When we are ready for dinner we all come to the beautifully set table with the wine and grape juice poured and the challah placed near my husband for the blessings to be spoken. I live for this moment each day of the week.