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GCSE RE: Sabbath

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Shabbat is a Jewish day of rest. Other names for Shabbat include the Sabbath. This is a weekly day is a main part of the Jewish family life. This holy begins on Friday evening and ends on Saturday night, when tree starts appear in the sky. The time Shabbat actually happens differs from different time zones. Around the world Shabbat means ‘rest’ or ‘period of rest’.

In the Jewish bible the Shabbat is mentioned as the fourth of one of the ten commandments.  Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work... For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.

Before, during and after Shabbat has arrived a number of rituals need to be met out of respect for the holy day. There are two commandments Jews have to recognise. To remember and to observe the Shabbat.

The mother of the house covers her head out of respect and covers her eyes as she wants to delay the pleasure of seeing Shabbat as this is special to them. The Jewish are permitted to be hospitable when it comes to Shabbat and they won’t leave anyone out so, they greet family member and other Jewish guests, with the phrase Shabbat Shalom שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם Shalom meaning ‘peace’ and is also a Hebrew welcoming ‘hello, Shabbat Shalom means ‘may you have a peaceful Shabbat’.

The Jewish are forbidden to work during Shabbat. They cannot also create a spark (fire) and Orthodox Jews will not use electricity or use a car.

Usually eighteen minutes before sunset two candles are lit by the mother or woman of the house. If the woman isn’t present the man does it instead. The women then closes her eyes and reads a blessing while waving her hands over the candles. This is very spiritual.

The father recites the Kiddush, which is a prayer blessing the whole family and wishes the children ,matriarch and pariahs (to be good mothers and fathers of Judaism). The family then drinks from a cup of over flowing kosher wine which represents gods over flowing love for his people. The Jewish are clean people who believe in purification so they wash their hands to symbolise this.

The Jewish eat three festive meals.

A white cloth is placed over the tables and two plated loaves of bread is put down. Each loaf has six plaits each. This is s a symbol of the double portion of Manna God gave his people when they were starving in the Egyptian desserts after the exodus from Egypt. The bread is torn and not cut as the Jewish aren’t allowed to work during Shabbat and this is considered work.

For a Friday night dinner they usually serve kosher meat and fish.

Kosher is all food which Jewish people are all allowed to eat. Kosher means ‘fitting’ or ‘correct’. Meat that is allowed to be eaten is any animal that chew’s the cud and has a split hoof. This is mentioned in Leviticus 11:3-8. However, even though pigs among goats, cow’s, deer’s etc, do have spit hoofs; they are not Kosher, because they do not cud chew. All fish have to have scales and fins to be eaten. Eating insects is also a sin.

The whole family sit and talk or even sing about anything positive. It is frowned upon to talk about money. Shabbat is a time for the family’s to bond with each other.

On Saturday morning the whole family goes tot the synagogue and as they are not allowed to bless the bread for a second time; they have cake for breakfast.

The third meal is eaten late Saturday afternoon and when three stars appear in the sky, this signify’s the end of Shabbat.

Shabbat is a very hold day for the Jewish community which bonds the Jewish family together. It is a time to forget about modern technology with TV and computers and a time to sit down with the family, eat and talk about issues that may be occurring within the family. Shabbat is every week so families have a chance to get together often and celebrate their religion.

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