The Celebration Of The Sabbath Essay

1831 words - 8 pages

Shabbat is the celebration of the Sabbath. Jews recognize sunset on Friday into Saturday evening as their Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of rest that is set apart from other days, a day in which Jews focus themselves on spiritual gratitude and reflection. Shabbat is considered one of the most important rituals to Jews. Shabbat is the observance of two interrelated commandments; to remember Shabbat (Zakhor), and to observe Shabbat (Shamor) ( On Shabbat Jews rest themselves from daily tasks and take the time to enrich their minds spiritually.
Zakhor, of the commandment ‘to remember’, means not only to remember the Sabbath, but also means to remember the significance of Sabbath. ...view middle of the document...

Additionally, resting on Sabbath reminds Jews that they are free from their normal weekday obligations. In a more general sense, Jews on the Sabbath are given freedom from the ‘slave-like’ ordinary commitments like work, schedules and other responsibilities. The Kiddush, a Jewish Shabbot ritual, remembers the two meanings of Zakhor, which is to remember God’s creation and the Jew’s exodus from Egypt. Kiddush is a prayer ritually said on Friday night that is meant to bless the Shabbot. We see now that Zakhor is a major part of the Jewish Sabbath and holds significant meaning.
The Shamor, or ‘to observe’, is the second commandment exercised on the Sabbath. By observing the Sabbath, Jews allow a chance to sanctify it. In observing the Sabbath Jews are prohibited from “melachah”, which is translated to work ( Most people find this aspect of the Jewish Sabbath tedious. In understanding melachah, the Jewish Sabbath is overall better understood by gentiles. Melachah to the Jews refers mostly to work that is creative. Melachah’s meaning connects with the story of creation and how God created the universe. God’s rest on the seventh day is recognized on Jewish Sabbath as Jews are prohibited from engaging in types of work that were needed for God to build earth. Rabbis from early Judaism found 39 forbidden acts which are forms of work that were needed for creation (it should be added that as with almost all of the commandments, all of these Shabbat restrictions can be violated if necessary to save a life). The understanding of the commandments Shamor and Zakhor observed on Sabbath are essential in gaining a better perspective and appreciation for Jewish Sabbath. The tradition of Sabbath for Jews allows for an opportunity to remember and reflect on their history as Jews and their connections with God throughout that history.
I recently attended a Qabbalat Shabbat Service. Qabbalat services are services that take place at the start of Shabbot, Friday evenings. The service I attended was held at Temple Israel in the Longwood area of Boston. Temple Israel was founded in 1854 and the temple I attended was built in 1928 as an expansion. The setting of the temple was very urban, placed within the known Longwood area of Boston. The buildings itself was quite large, though the building also included many cultural, educational and social resources needed by the congregation. Once I arrived to Temple Israel, I was greeted by a woman who said to me, “Shabbot Shalom”. Before arriving at the temple I was feeling a bit anxious because I knew little of what was about to happen, though through the simple words of, “Shabbot shalom”, I felt welcome. I was then directed by the woman to a table before entering the temple and was yet again greeted. The woman who greeted me explained that I would need to make a nametag and asked if I was new. I explained to the woman that I was there to observe a service as part of fulfilling an assignment for a Judaism class. The...

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