Judaica are the ritual objects used for Jewish holidays and Shabbat. Often Judaica is not merely functional, but decorated and styled so to honor the holiday, Shabbat and of course, God. Judaica constitutes beautiful traditions and helps us deepen our spiritual walk. We use these objects to honor the commadments of the Torah and Judaic traditions that have lasted for centuries in praise of the Almighty.
The Torah and Judica
The Torah God commands His faithful to numerous actions – to wear tassels on the corners of the garments, to keep God’s Word in head and hand, to write His commandments on the doorposts and of course to learn Torah. To fulfill these commandments certain traditional objects are required. The Tallit or Prayer Shawl hold the tassels, the Tefillin binds God’s Word to head and hand, the Mezuzah writes His Word on our Door Posts and of course one must have a copy of the Torah to learn Torah. In this way the Tallit, Tefillin, Mezuzah and Torah Scrolls all help one to fulfill God’s commandments and follow His Word.
Holidays and Judaica
Particular Jewish holidays use special objects to facilitate the celebration. At Rosh HaShannah the Shofar is blown at the start of the New Year. It is to awaken our souls and commanded by God in the Torah. At Passover we are commanded to remember the Exodus with a great feast. For this we use a Seder Plate and Matzah Covers. While these are not specifically commanded they are essential for the traditional Seder or Ordered Meal to commemorate this event. At Hanukkah we light the Hanukkah Menorah or Chanukkia. Also called the Festival of Lights, this beautiful holiday would not be complete without lighting the Chanukkia.
The Judaica of Shabbat
Shabbat, God’s Day, of course has its own very special and very important traditions. On Shabbat we bake bread called the Challah. The tradition of bread on the table for God dates back to Exodus 40 then Moses set up the Tabernacle as commanded by God. Today we use special Challah Covers, Challah Plates and Challah Knives for this special bread on Shabbat. Also on Friday to usher in Shabbat the Kiddush is said. This is a special prayer to sanctify Shabbat said over kosher wine using a Kiddush Cup. The Kiddush Cup is a special decorative goblet that holds a certain amount of wine required for the blessing. The final tradition of Shabbat is to light the Shabbat Candles. There are usually a pair of kosher candles in special Shabbat Candlesticks. There is no requirement for the candlesticks, but they are usually decorative and meaningful to the family.
Other types of Judaica
There are other aspects of Judaica that are not commanded by God, but are used to honor God and all His Glory. The Kippah or Yarmulke is a small hat worn out of respect for the Lord above. There is no commandment to wear the kippah, but it is a beautiful tradition. Additionally, many families have special Shabbat and Yom Tov (good day or holiday) tablecloths. There is no requirement, but it is nice to put out a special white tablecloth just to honor Shabbat or the holiday. There are many other items that can be acquired to accentuate your praise of the Almighty – shofar stands and shofar bags, table napkins, hand washing towels.