Bookmark and Share

Open the online Arabic language course

Judaism / Cult and Festivals /
Hebrew: shabbat

Woman preparing the Sabbath.

Woman preparing the Sabbath.

Jewish weekly holy day of rest, starting on Friday afternoon, lasting until Saturday afternoon. 'Sabbath' is Hebrew for 'to stop with', 'resting'.
The Sabbath is a festive occasion, taking place both in the synagogue and in the private homes. Most important is what happens in the home. 3 meals are eaten during the Sabbath, all prepared in advance. To each of them two loafs of bread are put on the table. It is the woman of the house that marks the start of the Sabbath, by lighting candles. Then the parents bless their children, reading the blessings, kiddush, over a cup of wine. At the end of the Sabbath, a blessing called Havdalah is read out.
The Sabbath is the time for studying the Torah, and reflections on the gift that life is. The theological background for celebrating the Sabbath comes from the Ten Commandments, and the creation of the world (Pentateuch 2, 1-3), where God after 6 days of creating the world, rested on the 7th. This 7th day he blessed and declared holy. The other background for the Sabbath is the marvels of the Exodus, where God for 5 consecutive days gave manna to the Israelis, but never more than what sufficed for each day. On the 6th day he gave manna for 2 days, so that the food for the 7th day could be prepared on the day before. On the 7th day, people should stay home with their families, and eat the food prepared the day before.
15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.
16 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take you every man for them which are in his tents.
17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.
18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.
19 And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.
20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.
21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.
22 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
23 And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which you will bake to day, and seethe that you will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day you shall not find it in the field.
26 Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
The Sabbath is revered as one of the most important festivals in Judaism. It is stated that if the whole of Israel could conduct one Sabbath properly, then Messiah would come. This because the Sabbath is considered being more important than all other obligations in the Torah.

By Tore Kjeilen