Shabbat: Sabbath in Hebrew, a day of rest and reflection. Jews are forbidden to work on this day. It marks God's completion of creating the world. Sabbath occurs 18 minutes before sunset on Friday and ends 42 minutes after sunset on Saturday. Therefore, it occurs approximately 52 times a year, each week and every week. This is regarded as an extremely important festival for Jews as it is 1. The 4th Commandment and 2. Occurs every week. It also reminds Jews of God's covenant with Abraham. Orthodox and Reform / Liberal Jews have slight differentations in how they celebrate Sabbath. The Orthodox Jews are much stricter, taking precautions as to no work, however Liberal / Reform Jews can bend the rules to their liking. However, the rules can be broken in extreme or life - threatening situations.

Genesis 2:1-3 : Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all there array. By the seventh day G-d completed His work which He had done, and He abstained on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. G-d blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because on it He abstained from all His work which G-d created to make.

This extract from Exodus explains that, as God completed creating the Universe on the 7th day, this should be observed as a day of rest and peace. This day is blessed for Jews as it is the day He completed this task of creating the Universe. 

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The Importance of Shabbat

1. Sabbath is a reminder of the Covenant between God and Abraham. Celebrating it, therefore, is a reminder of the Covenant and an occasion to rejoice in God's kept promises.

2. God commanded the Jewish People to observe the Sabbath and keep it holy as the fourth of the Ten CommandmentsThe idea of a day of rest comes from the Bible story of the Creation: God rested from creating the universe on the seventh day of that first week, so Jews rest from work on the Sabbath.

3. Shabbat is regarded as a gift from God. Most Jewish people look forward to Shabbat all week. They see it as God's gift to his chosen people of a day when they take time out from everyday things to feel special. Shabbat is a time with no television, no rushing to the demands of the telephone or a busy work schedule. People don't think about work or other stressful things. It's an oasis of calm, a time of stillness in life.

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Advantages of Shabbat

1. Shabbat is stress - free! There are no worries and there is more time to manage life.

2. There is more time for family and friends. Shabbat allows one to be social, not live a digital life inhabited by technology. Shabbat is very much a time when families come together in the presence of God in their own home. Singles, or others with no family around may form a group to celebrate Shabbat together.

3. Shabbat leaves one more space for imaginative thoughts and thinking. Playing board games and logic games have much more benefit as compared to digital, computer and video games.

4. Shabbat creates an organised routine, keeping the house clean and organised. Those living in the house also prepare in order to have an efficient and organised Shabbat.

5. Shabbat is healthy. It allows one to have more space in their lives for friends, family and a better lifestyle.

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Disadvantages of Shabbat

As well as advantages, disadvantages come with Shabbat. 

1. It is difficult and stressful to prepare for Shabbat.

2. It is difficult to prepare food and keep it warm.

3. In an Aethiest or non - religious view, Shabbat may not have enough benefits, in that time, homework could be completed, groceries collected, but instead, there are strict limitations to what can be done. 

4. It would be awkward and difficult in non - Jewish countries to prepare holidays for Shabbat, each week, every week.

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Shabbat Preparation


Any type of washing or cleaning is forbidden on Shabbat, so all cleansing should be prepared in advance. The sinks should be clean and clear of dishes, floors washed, carpets vaccumed. All laundry should be ironed, folded and placed away. 


Cooking, warming up food, even lighting or extinguishing a fire is forbidden on Shabbat. So how are the luscious, elaborate meals prepared especially for Shabbat? A Shabbat warming tray, known commonly as the blech allows one to keep foods warm. Make sure that all food is ready and warm and properly placed on the blech before candle lighting.

NO FORM OF MACHINERY CAN BE OPERATED ON SHABBAT! Therefore, toilet paper must be pre ripped as a machine leaves small holes so that it can easily be ripped. All transportation can only be done on foot.

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Havdalah: prayer at the close of Shabbat.

Kiddush: Recited over wine and challot as a blessing.

Challot: a loaf of bread.

The Havdalah service marks the end of Shabbat. It should be performed no earlier than nightfall on Saturday night. Nightfall is the time when three stars can be seen in the sky. It is normally about 45 minutes to an hour after sundown, depending on the latitude of the location.

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