Our Shabbat table becomes the symbolic representation of the Mishkan in our home. We light Shabbat candles; symbolic of the sacred lamp, the menorah. We say kiddush over wine, symbolic of the sanctification of the meal, taken from the sacrifices made. We have two challahs symbolic of the shew-bread. We sprinkle salt on the challah before we eat it, symbolic of the destruction of the Temple modeled after the Mishkan. The cutting of the challah with the knife is symbolic of our sacrificing the animals brought to the altar. Some substitute the use of the knife by pulling apart the Challah as a way of demonstrating that violence is not condoned and that Shabbat is a time of peace. Before we say the Motzi, the blessing over bread before we eat, we wash our hands, symbolic of the priest’s using the laver. While we are washing our hands, we are purifying our souls. We are silent before the Motzi blessing, to make sure that that purity is sustained into the first bit of our Shabbat meal and beyond.
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