/Shabbat – the Sabbath (weekly day of rest)

Shabbat – the Sabbath (weekly day of rest)

Of all the Jewish holidays the Sabbath, or weekly day of rest, is the most important. It is the only holiday mentioned in the Ten Commandments.

Although the Sabbath falls on a Saturday, the marking of it begins on the Friday evening because in the Jewish tradition nightfall is thought to be when one day ends and the next begins. The Torah says of a new day: And there was evening and there was morning [] The same applies for all Jewish holidays.

The Ten Commandments require Jewish people to keep the seventh day of the week holy, to keep the Lord’s Sabbath in commemoration of God having a day of rest after the Creation. During the Sabbath, Jewish people should abstain from all work. Common to all the activity that is banned during the Sabbath is that one should do nothing that requires knowledge or skill nor exploit the natural elements.

The Sabbath is marked partly in the synagogue and partly at home. In a Jewish home on a Friday evening, the Sabbath candles are lit and blessed just before sundown. The Sabbath itself is welcomed in the synagogue, but it is celebrated at home with the sharing of the Sabbath meal. The week’s most important service of worship is held each Saturday morning at the synagogue. Its highlight is the recitation and blessing of the week’s reading from the Torah.