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The shabbat - שַּׁבָּת, Why so important?

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

Shabbat is Judaism's day of rest and seventh day of the week. In the Book of Exodus - ספר שְׁמוֹת sefer shmot, the sabbath is commanded by God to be kept as a holy day, and a day of rest, because God rested from creation on the seventh day. The observation of the sabbat -שְׁמִירַת שֶׁבַּת shmirat shabbat, originated ftom the biblical commandment: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" - זָכ֛וֹר אֶת־יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת לְקַדְּשֽׁוֹ zcor et yom hashabat le kadsho. To simplify in short - That means - to keep Shabbat as the day of rest, and not work on that day at all. Full text from Exodus 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Shabbat is a weekly holy day for the people of Israel, the first Jewish holy day mentioned in the Torah. The Sabbath begins on Friday evening, slightly before sunset, and ends the next day, with the departure of the stars. Shabbat is considered In Judaism, the most sacred time.

Some of the reasons for the mitzvot of remembering the Sabbath day and distinguishing it from the other days: 1. The keeping of the Shabbat is a practical confession in the creation of the world by God, and it strengthens faith. It reminds us of the order of creation and the seventh day of creation, in which the Lord rested of all his work. 2. To commemorate the redemption of the Jewish people from slavery in ancient Egypt. The mitzvahs of the Shabbat. What to do and what not to do? The Sabbath mitzvahs are intended to distinguish the Sabbath from the other days in three aspects of sanctification: action, speech, and thought. Rituals and mitzvahs:

1. Lighting Shabbat Candles הַדְלָקַת נֵרוֹת שֶׁבַּת hadlakat nerot shabbat - Start the Shabbat with candle lighting and blessing before the sun sets on Friday evening. The purpose of this mitzvah is to create a pleasant atmosphere and inspire peace.

2. Kabbalat Shabbat קָבָּלַתְ שֶׁבַּת Welcoming the Sabbath. - Reading hymns, psalms, and blessings in the synagogue during the transition between Shabbat evening and Shabbat night, marking the beginning of Shabbat. 3. Kiddush קִדּוּשׁ and Sabbath Supper סְעוּדַת לֵיל שֶׁבַּת seudat leyl shabbat - Kiddush is a blessing spoken on the night and Shabbat day over a glass of wine along with the mention of verses on the Sabbath from the Bible. Kiddush - sanctification.

The Kiddush is a ceremony held before the Sabbath meal for all members of the household. Followed by the blessing of bread, the c'hala חָלָה

4. Havdalah - הַבְדָּלָה separation. A ceremony that marks the end of the Sabbath. The purpose of this ceremony is "to distinguish between the Sabbath and the other days. Only after this can you begin the regular weekly activities, that are prohibited on Saturday.

What not to do: Jewish law prohibits doing any form of Melac'ha מְלָאכָה on Shabbat, unless an urgent human or medical need is life-threatening. melakhah is translated as work, however, a better definition is - any deliberate activity and craftsmanship. Here are some basic activities that are forbidden on Shabbat:

  • writing - lic'tov - לִכְתוֹב

  • driving (or riding in cars or any vehicles) - linhog לִנְהוֹג

  • shopping - laasot kniyot לַעֲשׂוֹת קְנִיּוֹת

  • using the phone - lehishtamesh batelephon לְהִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בְּטֶלֶפוֹן

  • Use electricity - lehishtamesh bec'hashmal לְהִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בְּחַשְׁמַל

  • cooking - levashel לְבָשֵׁל

  • Starting a fire- lehadlik esh לְהַדְלִיק אֵשׁ

  • Use or touch money in any form - lagaat bbekesef - לָגַעַת בְּכֶסֶף

Special bonus! Here is the kiddush text for you so you can say it correctly before the Shabbat dinner Kiddush text:

יום הַשִּׁשִּׁי. וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ וְכָל צְבָאָם: