Shabbat Morning Services at Tsemach Adonai
We start each service on Shabbat, Saturdays at 10:30 am, with a piece of liturgy called "Mah Tovu." It is a song about the joy of being in G-d's courts. We then will read a Psalm or other piece of responsive liturgy. After that, we will go into the more contemporary part of our service. We almost always start with "Shalom, Chaverim," (Hello, friends), which is our song of greeting. At this point, we greet each other and grab a rhythm instrument from the back of the room to join in the music-making.
The pesukei de zimrah portion of our service is contemporary and lasts for about 45 minutes. We may play some songs several times, and this part of the service will include at least two Israeli style dances. Some will be harder than others. Some songs will be slow and reflective, others upbeat and joyful.
After a time of praise in song and dance, we continue with the more formal portion of our service. We chant Hebrew prayers such as Kaddish, the Sh'ma, and the Amidah which leads us to the climax of our service--the Torah. We read from the scroll in both Hebrew and English followed by the Haftarah--selected portions of Scripture which include readings from the Prophets and the Brit Chadashah. The Rabbi then gives a drash/message and closes the service with a few traditional readings from the siddur/prayer book.
Next, we present, read and expound on G-d's word. This is the focal point of the service. At this point, we take the Torah scroll containing the first five books of the Bible out of the Ark (cupboard), and honor G-d's gift of his Word. We symbolically indicate our intention to follow G-d's instruction by not turning our back as the Torah is processed through the sanctuary. As it parades, we approach the Torah and kiss a a siddur or tzitzit (prayer shawl tassel), then touch the Torah with the item we kissed. This symbolically represents our love for His words. We sing in Hebrew and English "Out from Zion goes forth the Law and the Word of the L-rd from Jerusalem," and "Blessed is He who gave the law in holiness to His people, Israel."
Next, we read in Hebrew and English of the Torah and Haftarah portion for the week. Generally, we read only a portion of the Torah portion, or Parashah, for the week to get an essence of the portion. The message afterwards focuses on the full portion, however. As believers in Yeshua, we add suggested readings from the apostolic writings or B'rit Chadashah (New Testament) to the traditional Haftarah readings.
After the message, we chant a closing piece of liturgy, such as Adon Olam, Yigdal or the Aleinu, followed by receiving the Aaronic Benediction.
Then, the service is concluded, but we are not yet finished. We adjourn upstairs for oneg Shabbat, the joy of the Sabbath. There, we will bless wine and bread and enjoy a potluck meal together, along with enjoying one another's company.
If you wish to contribute a dish to the potluck, please do not mix meat and dairy in the same dish, and of course no pork, shellfish, or other non-kosher items. If in doubt, check with the kitchen helpers as to what is appropriate or in shortest supply.
At Tsemach Adonai, we like to mix the traditional and the more contemporary, liturgy and folk style music, the spontaneous and the ritual. So, no two Shabbatot are exactly alike, but we do have some elements that are common to most services.
We hope you can join us.