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What are the key elements of Shabbat?

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Introduction

´╗┐Shabbat Judaism is an ancient religion which originated in the Middle East and has spread throughout the world. Today the followers of Judaism have many tradition s and rituals in which are celebrated all year round in thanks and in praise to God. Shabbat is one of the most important rituals and is celebrated by nearly every variant of the Jewish Religion. In the Torah, Shabbat is signified as a day of rest for the Jews and features as the fourth commandment, ?Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work; but the seventh day. On it you shall not do any manner of work?For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath Day, and hallowed it." (Genesis 20: 8-10). As a response to Gods word from Genesis, Shabbat is respected and practised weekly. ...read more.

Middle

Two loaves of bread are placed on the table and a prayer is recited which praises the gift of food from God. The challah is an important symbol as it represents the double portion of manna which fell from the sky for the Jewish people who wandered the desert for 40 years. After these ceremonies have been completed, a fully kosher dinner is eaten. When finished the burkat ha-mazon is recited and they are free to do what they like. The next day, Shabbat generally follows the same structure. At 9am, families attend another service which follows into the afternoon, after which they return home and have a festive meal, which is acts as the third meal in Shabbat. Approximately 40 minutes after sunset or when three stars are visible, Havdalah is performed, to mark the end of Shabbat. It is a ?multi-sensory? ritual to thank God for the creation of the world, and involves prayer over a braided candle, spices and wine. ...read more.

Conclusion

Orthodox Jews, which is the strictest branch, keep Shabbat very holy and refrain from 39 activities specifically prohibited in the Torah. They perform every ritual and prepare all their food kosher. In comparison to reform, conservative is extremely different, many reform Jews do not observe Shabbat at all, or have made adjustments into the modern ages with less strictness. If they do celebrate Shabbat, families may have a dinner on the Friday night and light candles but will not avoid electricity and will go shopping etc. Then there is conservative which falls in the middle, they are not as lenient as reform but are not as strict as orthodox. It differs from family to family, as some may use electricity when some may not, but all families follows the traditional structure. Shabbat is one of the most important occurrences in the Jewish calendar and is a central part of the Jewish family and Jewish life. It is a time for friends and family to come together for meals, prayer, and relaxation. Although it is not celebrated by all Jews it remains sacred as Gods day of rest. ...read more.

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