The Shabbat table needs to be something that everyone looks forward to. It needs to be joyous. One of the joys of Shabbat is the décor of the table. The dining room is cleared of “chol” (weekday items) and a beautiful tablecloth is spread on the table. The Shabbat is treated as a “queen” so the finest dishes and flowers are set on the table. The evening meal begins with greeting the Shabbat angels into the house and reciting ‘Aishet Chayil’ song, praising the woman for her good qualities.

Next two blessing are recited, the ‘Kiddush’ and a blessing over two loaves of challa. The challa is a special bread usually braided and typically eaten on ceremonial occasions such as Shabbat. The challa is placed on a plate which is an integral part of any Shabbat table. After the prayer for giving thanks for bread, the tasty challa is sliced, sprinkled with salt, and passed around for all to enjoy. The challa plate is used to prevent crumbs from spreading over the table after slicing the bread. The challa plates are made of a variety of materials in many shapes and forms. Young couples are often very pleased to receive challa plates for their wedding or housewarming. The challa plate is often passed on to the next generation, holding the family tradition. Shabbat Shalom!

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