When the Shabbat table is ready and all family members and guests are around the table, the Sephardic custom is to sing Shalom Alekhem which is a poem by which we welcome the “angels of peace” that would accompany us during Shabbat. This poem reminds us the importance of keeping Shalom Bayit (peace at home) especially on our Shabbat table, when all the family is together.
Then we sing Eshet Chayil a Biblical poem composed by King Salomon in Mishle where he praises the virtuous wife. This is a small homage that the family pays to the mother / wife acknowledging her efforts in preparing the food, setting the table, cleaning the house, etc, etc, which she has diligently done in honor of Shabbat.
Then the baal habayit (lit. master of the house: the father, grandfather, etc) takes the cup of wine which should be clean from outside and inside. Some people have the custom to fill up the cup until it spills a little. But Halakhically it is enough to fill it in the amount of reviit (approximately 3 oz.) even if the cup is not full to the top.
Then he holds the cup with his right hand and while standing says: Yom hashishi… etc. and when he finishes: Barukh Ata haShem mekaddesh haShabbat he sits down and drinks from the cup.
Candle lighting: 7:59 PM
To learn Shalom Alekhem see : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs9Lfh-8Y60&feature=related
Clarification from last week: "very light snack".Some examples: a yogurt, orange juice, fruits, coffee with milk, tea,, etc.