Shabbat

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What is Shabbat

  • Shabbat is a very important festival in Judaism (sometimes regarded the most important because it happens every week.) 
  • It occurs at least 52 times a year.
  • It starts 18 minutes before sunset on Friday and ends 42 minutes after sunset on Saturday.
  • It marks Gods completion on creating the world.

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.

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Why is Shabbat important to Jews

  • They are told to follow it in the Ten commandments.

Exodus 20:8-11: Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it. Six days shall you work and accomplish all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to Hashem, your G-d; You shall not do any work - you, your son, your daughter, your slave, your maidservant, your animals, and your convert within your gates - for in six days Hashem made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, Hashem blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it."

  • It gives the Jewish family a chance to spend time together without interruptions and work.
  • It reminds Jews of God creating the universe, and ensure the past isn't forgotten.
  • It happens every week.
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Preparations for Shabbat

Prior to shabbat there are many preparations needed doing as you are not allowed to do any form of work on Shabbat for example:

  • The most senior woman must light two candles to welcome the festival into the household.
  • Food must be cooked prior to the celebration.
  • Water must be boiled so that it doesn't have to happen during the festival.
  • People must be home from work before the festival begins.
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Working on Shabbat

There are 39 different regulations of work that cannot be done on Shabbat which are split into seven sections:

1) Growing and Preparing food: cooking, grinding, kneading, ploughing, reaping, selecting out, sifting, sowing, stacking sheaves, threshing, winnowing.

2) Making clothing:  Combining raw materials, dyeing, removing a finished article, seperating threads, sewing, sheep shearing, spinning, tearing, threading a loom, tying knots, untying knots, washing, weaving.

3) Leatherwork and Writing: Cutting, erasing, flaying skins, marking out, scraping, slaughtering, tanning, trapping, writing.

4) Providing shelter: Building, demolishing.

5) Creating a fire: Extinguishing a fire, kindling a fire.

6) Work completion: Completing an object or making it useable.

7) Transporting goods: Carrying in a public place.

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Working on Shabbat Cont.

The Rabbis added three more groups:

  • Muktzeh: Objects that cannot be used on shabbat e.g) work tools, money ect.
  • Sh'vut: They cannot ask someone to do something for them (but they can seek advice) this is to stop people using gentiles to do work for them.
  • Uvdin d'chol: Weekday things- Jews cannot read things like business documents.

These rules can only be broken in case of death.

"Mishnah: Whoever destroys a single life is considered as if he had destroyed the whole world, and whoever saves a single life as if he had saved the whole world."

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The Shabbat Meal

  • Men go to synagogue
  • Men return and parents say a blessing on their children
  • Father says tradditional blessing of High Priest
  • Hymn is sung to thank the angels for following each Jew home after synagogue.
  • Husbands sing a blessing to their wifes.
  • Before the meals begins Kiddush (a blessing) is said over the wine.

"Blessed are You, HASHEM, our G-d, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine."

  • A blessing is said over two special plaited loaf (Challah) these represent the manna the Jews were given on Shabbat while wandering the desert. The loafs are hidden by cloth until cut.

"Blessed are You, HASHEM, our G-d, King of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth."

The cloth represents: 1) The dew that fell on the desert, 2) Dresses the challah as a bride, 3) The loafs can't see the wine being blessed first as they may be offended. 

  • Bread is cut and sprinkled with salt and is shared. Now the meal can begin.


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Havdalah

Shabbat ends with the Havdalah ceremony:

  • A plaited candle is lit
  • A blessing is said over a cup of wine
  • A spice box is passed around the family (so everyone can carry the sweetness of shabbat into the next week).

"Blessed are You, HASHEM, our G-d, King of the universe, Who creates species of fragrance."

  •  A blessing is then said over the candle
  • A prayer is read:

 "Blessed are You, HASHEM, our G-d, King of the universe, Who seperates between holy and secular, between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six days of labour. Blessed are You, Hashem, Who seperates between holy and secular."

  • Wine is drunk and the candle is put out.
  • Finally people wish each other "Shavuah Tov" (A good week)
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