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Updated: 2013.09.29

Setting of the Table
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A•rikh•at ha-Shul•khân; "setting of the table"; refers to the Kha•sid•im fellowship meal table of the Tza•diq—their rebbe or, in the Nᵊtzâr•im case, Pâ•qid; especially of the Ërëv Shab•ât and Ërëv Khag meal tables.

The model for the Nᵊtzâr•im virtual counterpart is the Kha•sid•im custom of attendance by all tal•mid•im Nᵊtzâr•im at the meal table, led by the Tza•diq (Pâ•qid or, among more modern, European Kha•sid•im, their rëbbe), who distributes food and drink to those sharing the meal. This is similar in many respects to the holy meal shared by the Essenes.

In the spiritual counterpart, Tor•âh is the bread (representing all food) and the Ruakh ha-Qodësh of fellowship is the (running—literally "living"—water).

The meal is liberally supplemented, as the Ruakh ha-Qodësh leads, by the a capella singing of Tei•mân•im zᵊmir•ot spirituals (but not Yiddish songs, Yiddish being a product of German-European assimilation). The Tza•diq (the Pâ•qid or rebbe) personally blesses each attendee who partakes of the food and beverage he shares with them.

Like the Tei•mân•im, when gatherings are larger than a couple of families, women sit at a nearby separate table (no separating wall or curtain is necessary), where, with a bit of extra effort, they are able to communicate with the men when they wish. Like the Tei•mân•im at Ho•sha•nâ Rab•â, and unlike some other traditions, Nᵊtzâr•im encourage women to sing along.

During the Ërëv Shab•ât meal, the Tza•diq may teach Dᵊvar Tor•âh, spiritual passages from the Mid•râsh, a point of Ha•lâkh•âh or Mᵊnor•at ha-Mâ•or (by Yi•tzᵊkhâq A•bu•hâv), relate parables or history, or share Judaic perspective on current events or politics.

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