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The Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath, holy day)

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The Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath, holy day) The Sabbath (or Shabbat as it is called in Hebrew) is one of the best known and least understood of all Jewish Observances. Although to those who are not of the Jewish faith it is thought of as a day of prayer - similar to Sunday in Christianity - to observant Jews it is a lot more. It is considered a gift from God that is looked forward to throughout the week. 'In the beginning..... And on the seventh day God finished the work which He had been doing and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work which He had done. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation which He had done. (Genesis 2:1-3) This is, in a way, the first Shabbat. Jews believe God wants them to keep one day holy the way he did when he stopped creating. Jews observe this by taking one day a week to rest, pray and stop working and celebrate it as a gift from God. ...read more.


The table is set and a large pot of food is ready on the stove to save the mother cooking on Shabbat. On the table, with the meal, are two loaves (Challah) under an embroidered cloth. There is a goblet for blessing the wine. (Bread and wine were important in Jewish temple worship). There are two candles in candlesticks. The mother has the honoured tradition of lighting the candles. She does this with her head covered. She warms her hands over the flames, making a beckoning motion over the flames (to welcome in Shabbat, which is regarded as a person). She covers her eyes and recites the Kidoosh (blessing) and prays for her family. Then the meal is shared and enjoyed between the entire group. The food prepared beforehand is kept warm throughout Shabbat on a Blech Plate, which is simply a plate heated just enough to keep it warm without cooking the food further. The Laws of Shabbat There are altogether 39 laws of Shabbat, which basically summarise to forbid any sort of work on Shabbat, for example no pulling, no carrying. ...read more.


It is the highlight of the week in the synagogue. The Rabbi will read from the Torah, which is the first five books of the bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) but written in Hebrew. The service will usually include a talk (or sermon) from the Rabbi and perhaps a study or discussion of the torah. Services for children are offered quite often in synagogues so the children can study the torah as well. Shabbat services often have a Bar mitzvah being held after or before the service. There are also Shabbat services at the synagogue on Friday nights, but often just the men of the house attend his whilst the women and girls stay at home. How Does Shabbat End? The end of Shabbat arrives on Saturday sunset. It is marked by Havdalah. This is bidding farewell to Shabbat until next week. It is permitted to light fire again, so a plaited candle is lit and everyone smells the sweet spices in a spice box and the pleasant smell spreads through the house. This is a symbol of the hope for peace until next Shabbat. After the blessing, the candle is put out by dipping it in a cup of wine. Kate Foister 10G Mrs Brignell GCSE R.E ...read more.

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