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Shabbat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


This article is about the rest day in Judaism. For Sabbath in the Bible, see
Biblical Sabbath. For the Talmudic tractate, see Shabbat (Talmud).
Oyneg Shabes and Oneg Shabbat redirect here. For the collection of documents from
the Warsaw Ghetto collected and preserved by the group known by the code name Oyneg
Shabes, see Ringelblum Archive.

Shabbat candles
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Shabbat (??'b??t; Hebrew ????????? [?a'bat], rest or cessation) or Shabbos (['?a.b?
s], Yiddish ????) or the Sabbath is Judaism's day of rest and seventh day of the
week, on which religious Jews and certain Christians (such as Seventh Day
Adventists and Seventh Day Baptists) remember the Biblical creation of the heavens
and the earth in six days and the Exodus of the Hebrews, and look forward to a
future Messianic Age. Shabbat observance entails refraining from work activities,
often with great rigor, and engaging in restful activities to honor the day.
Judaism's traditional position is that unbroken seventh-day Shabbat originated
among the Jewish people, as their first and most sacred institution, though some
suggest other origins. Variations upon Shabbat are widespread in Judaism and, with
adaptations, throughout the Abrahamic and many other religions.

According to halakha (Jewish religious law), Shabbat is observed from a few minutes
before sunset on Friday evening until the appearance of three stars in the sky on
Saturday night.[1] Shabbat is ushered in by lighting candles and reciting a
blessing. Traditionally, three festive meals are eaten in the evening, in the early
afternoon, and late in the afternoon. The evening meal typically begins with a
blessing called kiddush and another blessing recited over two loaves of challah.
Shabbat is closed the following evening with a havdalah blessing. Shabbat is a
festive day when Jews exercise their freedom from the regular labors of everyday
life. It offers an opportunity to contemplate the spiritual aspects of life and to
spend time with family.

Contents [hide]
1 History
1.1 Etymology
1.2 Biblical sources
1.3 Origins
1.4 Status as a holy day
2 Rituals
2.1 Welcoming Sabbath
2.2 Other rituals
2.3 Bidding farewell
3 Prohibited activities
3.1 Orthodox and Conservative
3.1.1 Electricity
3.1.2 Automobiles
3.1.3 Modifications
3.1.4 Permissions
3.2 Reform and Reconstructionist
4 Encouraged activities
5 Special Shabbatoth
6 Sabbath adaptation
7 See also
8 References
9 External links
History[edit]
Etymology[edit]
Main article Sabbath etymology
The word Shabbat derives from the Hebrew verb shavat (Hebrew ????????). Although
frequently translated as rest (noun or verb), another accurate translation of these
words is ceasing [from work], as resting is not necessarily denoted. The related
modern Hebrew word shevita (labor strike), has the same implication of active
rather than passive abstinence from work. The notion of active cessation from labor
is also regarded as more consistent with an omnipotent God's activity on the
seventh day of Creation according to Genesis.

Biblical sources[edit]
Main article Biblical Sabbath
Sabbath is given special status as a holy day at the very beginning of the Torah in
Genesis 213. It is first commanded after the Exodus from Egypt, in Exodus 1626
(relating to the cessation of manna) and in Exodus 1629 (relating to the distance
one may travel by foot on the Sabbath), as also in Exodus 20811 (as the fourth of
the Ten Commandments). Sabbath is commanded and commended many more times in the
Torah and Tanakh; double the normal number of animal sacrifices are to be offered
on the day.[2] Sabbath is also described by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel,
Hosea, Amos, and Nehemiah.

Origins[edit]

A silver matchbox holder for Shabbat from the Republic of Macedonia


The longstanding traditional Jewish position is that unbroken seventh-day Shabbat
originated among the Jewish people, as their first and most sacred institution.[3]
The origins of Shabbat and a seven-day week are not clear to scholars; the Mosaic
tradition claims an origin from the Biblical creation.[4][5]

Seventh-day Shabbat did not originate with the Egyptians, to whom it was unknown;
[6] and other origin theories based on the day of Saturn, or on the planets
generally, have also been abandoned.[7]

The first non-Biblical reference to Sabbath is in an ostracon found in excavations


at Mesad Hashavyahu, which is dated 630 BCE.[8]

Connection to Sabbath observance has been suggested in the designation of the


seventh, fourteenth, nineteenth, twenty-first and twenty-eight days of a lunar
month in an Assyrian religious calendar as a 'holy day', also called evil days
(meaning unsuitable for prohibited activities). The prohibitions on these days,
spaced seven days apart, include abstaining from chariot riding, and the avoidance
of eating meat by the King. On these days officials were prohibited from various
activities and common men were forbidden to make a wish, and at least the 28th was
known as a rest-day.[9][10] The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia advanced a theory of
Assyriologists like Friedrich Delitzsch[3] (and of Marcello Craveri)[11] that
Shabbat originally arose from the lunar cycle in the Babylonian calendar[12][13]
containing four weeks ending in Sabbath, plus one or two additional unreckoned days
per month.[14] The difficulties of this theory include reconciling the differences
between an unbroken week and a lunar week, and explaining the absence of texts
naming the lunar week as Sabbath in any language.[7]