Shabbat

Shabbat

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Shabbat'
Start a new discussion about 'Shabbat'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week
Seven-day week
The seven-day week is used by the majority of the world and is the international standard as specified in ISO 8601.- Origins :The origin of the seven-day week is the religious significance that was placed on the seventh day by ancient cultures, including the Babylonian civilization and the Jewish...

 and a day of rest in Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday
Friday
Friday is the day between Thursday and Saturday. In countries adopting Monday-first conventions as recommended by the international standard ISO 8601, it is the fifth day of the week. It is the sixth day in countries that adopt a Sunday-first convention as in Abrahamic tradition...

 evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday
Saturday
Saturday is the day of the week following Friday and preceding Sunday.Saturday is the last day of the week on many calendars and in conventions that consider the week as beginning on Sunday, or the sixth day of the week according to international standard ISO 8601 which was first published in...

 night. The exact times, therefore, differ from week to week and from place to place, depending on the time of sunset at each location. In polar areas where there is no sunrise or sunset at certain times of the year, a different set of rules
Jewish law in the polar regions
The observance of Jewish law in the polar regions of Earth presents unique problems. Many mitzvot, such as Jewish prayer and the Jewish sabbath, rely on the consistent cycle of day and night in 24-hour periods that is commonplace in most of the world...

 applies.

On Shabbat Jews recall the Biblical Creation account in Genesis, describing God creating the Heavens and the Earth in six days and resting on the seventh. It also recalls the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai , also known as Mount Horeb, Mount Musa, Gabal Musa , Jabal Musa meaning "Moses' Mountain", is a mountain near Saint Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. A mountain called Mount Sinai is mentioned many times in the Book of Exodus in the Torah and the Bible as well as the Quran...

, when God commanded the Israelite nation to observe the seventh day and keep it holy.

Shabbat is considered a festive day, when a Jew is freed from the regular labors of everyday life, can contemplate the spiritual aspects of life, and can spend time with family. Traditionally, three festive meals are eaten: on Friday night, Saturday morning and late Saturday afternoon. The day is also noted for those activities prohibited on Shabbat according to halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 (Jewish law). It is expected that Jews do not by any extent do work on this holy day. This includes for modern times sake driving, turning on or off a light switch, or watching or using any electronic devices. Although it is modern times, still the orthodox and those who observe Shabbat obey these rules.

Etymology



The word Shabbat derives from the Hebrew verb shavat. Although frequently translated as "rest" (noun or verb), another accurate translation of these words is "ceasing [from work]", as resting is not necessarily denoted. The related modern Hebrew word shevita, (labor strike), has the same implication of active rather than passive abstinence from work. The notion of active cessation from labor is also regarded as more consistent with an omnipotent God
Names of God in Judaism
In Judaism, the name of God is more than a distinguishing title; it represents the Jewish conception of the divine nature, and of the relationship of God to the Jewish people and to the world. To demonstrate the sacredness of the names of God, and as a means of showing respect and reverence for...

's activity on the seventh day of Creation according to Genesis.

Biblical source



Shabbat is given special status as a holy day at the very beginning of the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 in . It is first commanded after the Exodus
The Exodus
The Exodus is the story of the departure of the Israelites from ancient Egypt described in the Hebrew Bible.Narrowly defined, the term refers only to the departure from Egypt described in the Book of Exodus; more widely, it takes in the subsequent law-givings and wanderings in the wilderness...

 from Egypt, in (relating to the cessation of manna
Manna
Manna or Manna wa Salwa , sometimes or archaically spelled mana, is the name of an edible substance that God provided for the Israelites during their travels in the desert according to the Bible.It was said to be sweet to the taste, like honey....

) and in (as the fourth of the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

). Shabbat is commanded and commended many more times in the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 and Tanakh; special sacrifices
Korban
The term offering as found in the Hebrew Bible in relation to the worship of Ancient Israel is mainly represented by the Hebrew noun korban whether for an animal or other offering...

 are to be offered on the day. Shabbat is also described by the prophets Isaiah
Isaiah
Isaiah ; Greek: ', Ēsaïās ; "Yahu is salvation") was a prophet in the 8th-century BC Kingdom of Judah.Jews and Christians consider the Book of Isaiah a part of their Biblical canon; he is the first listed of the neviim akharonim, the later prophets. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus...

, Jeremiah
Jeremiah
Jeremiah Hebrew:יִרְמְיָה , Modern Hebrew:Yirməyāhū, IPA: jirməˈjaːhu, Tiberian:Yirmĭyahu, Greek:Ἰερεμίας), meaning "Yahweh exalts", or called the "Weeping prophet" was one of the main prophets of the Hebrew Bible...

, Ezekiel
Ezekiel
Ezekiel , "God will strengthen" , is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Ezekiel is acknowledged as a Hebrew prophet...

, Hosea
Hosea
Hosea was the son of Beeri and a prophet in Israel in the 8th century BC. He is one of the Twelve Prophets of the Jewish Hebrew Bible, also known as the Minor Prophets of the Christian Old Testament. Hosea is often seen as a "prophet of doom", but underneath his message of destruction is a promise...

, Amos
Amos (prophet)
Amos is a minor prophet in the Old Testament, and the author of the Book of Amos. Before becoming a prophet, Amos was a sheep herder and a sycamore fig farmer. Amos' prior professions and his claim "I am not a prophet nor a son of a prophet" indicate that Amos was not from the school of prophets,...

, and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
Nehemiah ]]," Standard Hebrew Nəḥemya, Tiberian Hebrew Nəḥemyāh) is the central figure of the Book of Nehemiah, which describes his work rebuilding Jerusalem and purifying the Jewish community. He was the son of Hachaliah, Nehemiah ]]," Standard Hebrew Nəḥemya, Tiberian Hebrew Nəḥemyāh) is the...

.

Origin theories


A longstanding Jewish position is that unbroken seventh-day shabbat originated among the Jewish people, as their first and most sacred institution, whether this Mosaic
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 tradition preserves an origin in special creation
Creation according to Genesis
The Genesis creation narrative describes the divine creation of the world including the first man and woman...

, or whether it indicates some obscure later naturalistic origin. Seventh-day shabbat did not originate with the Egyptians
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, to whom it was unknown; and other origin theories based on the day of Saturn
Saturn
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Saturn is named after the Roman god Saturn, equated to the Greek Cronus , the Babylonian Ninurta and the Hindu Shani. Saturn's astronomical symbol represents the Roman god's sickle.Saturn,...

, or on the planets generally, have also been abandoned. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia advanced a theory of Assyriologists like Friedrich Delitzsch
Friedrich Delitzsch
Friedrich Delitzsch was a German Assyriologist. Born in Erlangen, he studied in Leipzig and Berlin, and in 1874 was habilitated as a lecturer of Semitic languages and Assyriology in Leipzig. In 1885 he became a "full professor" at Leipzig, and afterwards a professor at the Universities of Breslau ...

 (and of Marcello Craveri
Marcello Craveri
Marcello Craveri was an Italian biblical scholar. Born in Turin, he earned his doctorate in 1940 and then saw military service.His most widely read work probably is The Life of Jesus published in 1966, and in paperback English translation in 1967...

), that shabbat originally arose from the lunar cycle in the Babylonian calendar
Babylonian calendar
The Babylonian calendar was a lunisolar calendar with years consisting of 12 lunar months, each beginning when a new crescent moon was first sighted low on the western horizon at sunset, plus an intercalary month inserted as needed by decree. The calendar is based on a Sumerian precedecessor...

 containing four weeks ending in Sabbath, plus one or two additional unreckoned days per month. The difficulties of this theory include reconciling the differences between an unbroken week and a lunar week, and explaining the absence of texts naming the lunar week as shabbat in any language.

Status as a holy day



The Tanach and siddur
Siddur
A siddur is a Jewish prayer book, containing a set order of daily prayers. This article discusses how some of these prayers evolved, and how the siddur, as it is known today has developed...

 (Jewish prayer book) describe Shabbat as having three purposes:
  1. To commemorate the Israelites' redemption from slavery
    The Exodus
    The Exodus is the story of the departure of the Israelites from ancient Egypt described in the Hebrew Bible.Narrowly defined, the term refers only to the departure from Egypt described in the Book of Exodus; more widely, it takes in the subsequent law-givings and wanderings in the wilderness...

     in ancient Egypt
    Ancient Egypt
    Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

    ;
  2. To commemorate God's
    Names of God in Judaism
    In Judaism, the name of God is more than a distinguishing title; it represents the Jewish conception of the divine nature, and of the relationship of God to the Jewish people and to the world. To demonstrate the sacredness of the names of God, and as a means of showing respect and reverence for...

     creations of the universe
    Creation according to Genesis
    The Genesis creation narrative describes the divine creation of the world including the first man and woman...

    ; on the seventh day God rested from (or ceased) his work;
  3. As a "taste" of Olam Haba (the Messianic Age
    Messianic Age
    Messianic Age is a theological term referring to a future time of universal peace and brotherhood on the earth, without crime, war and poverty. Many religions believe that there will be such an age; some refer to it as the "Kingdom of God" or the "World to Come".- Terminology: "messianic" and...

    ).

Judaism accords Shabbat the status of a joyous holy day. In many ways, Jewish law gives Shabbat the status of being the most important holy day in the Jewish calendar:
  • It is the first holy day mentioned in the Bible, and God was the first to observe it with the cessation of Creation
    Creation according to Genesis
    The Genesis creation narrative describes the divine creation of the world including the first man and woman...

     (Genesis 2:1–3).
  • Jewish liturgy
    Jewish services
    Jewish prayer are the prayer recitations that form part of the observance of Judaism. These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, are found in the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book....

     treats the Shabbat as a "bride" and "queen" (see Shekhinah
    Shekhinah
    Shekinah is the English spelling of a grammatically feminine Hebrew word that means the dwelling or settling, and is used to denote the dwelling or settling divine presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem.-Etymology:Shekinah is derived...

    ).
  • The Sefer Torah
    Sefer Torah
    A Sefer Torah of Torah” or “Torah scroll”) is a handwritten copy of the Torah or Pentateuch, the holiest book within Judaism. It must meet extremely strict standards of production. The Torah scroll is mainly used in the ritual of Torah reading during Jewish services...

     is read during the Torah reading
    Torah reading
    Torah reading is a Jewish religious ritual that involves the public reading of a set of passages from a Torah scroll. The term often refers to the entire ceremony of removing the Torah scroll from the ark, chanting the appropriate excerpt with special cantillation, and returning the scroll to...

     which is part of the Shabbat morning services, with a longer reading than during the week. The Torah is read over a yearly cycle of 54 parshiyot
    Parsha
    This article is about the divisions of the Torah into weekly readings. For this week's Torah portion, see Torah portionThe weekly Torah portion |Sidra]]) is a section of the Torah read in Jewish services...

    , one for each Shabbat (sometimes they are doubled). On Shabbat, the reading is divided into seven sections, more than on any other holy day, including Yom Kippur
    Yom Kippur
    Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

    . Then, the Haftarah
    Haftarah
    The haftarah or haftoroh is a series of selections from the books of Nevi'im of the Hebrew Bible that is publicly read in synagogue as part of Jewish religious practice...

     reading from the Hebrew prophets is read.
  • A tradition states that the Jewish Messiah
    Jewish Messiah
    Messiah, ; mashiah, moshiah, mashiach, or moshiach, is a term used in the Hebrew Bible to describe priests and kings, who were traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil as described in Exodus 30:22-25...

     will come if every Jew properly observes two consecutive Shabbats.
  • The punishment in ancient times for desecrating Shabbat (stoning
    Stoning
    Stoning, or lapidation, is a form of capital punishment whereby a group throws stones at a person until the person dies. No individual among the group can be identified as the one who kills the subject, yet everyone involved plainly bears some degree of moral culpability. This is in contrast to the...

    ) is the most severe punishment in Jewish law.

Shabbat rituals


Shabbat is a day of celebration as well as prayer
Jewish services
Jewish prayer are the prayer recitations that form part of the observance of Judaism. These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, are found in the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book....

. It is customary to eat three festive meals: Dinner on Shabbat eve (Friday night), lunch on Shabbat day (Saturday), and a third meal, known as Seudah Shlishit
Seudah Shlishit
Seudah Shlishit is the "third meal" customarily eaten by Sabbath-observing Jews on Shabbat .-Practices:According to Halakha, the meal is to be eaten in the afternoon...

, in the late afternoon (Saturday).

Many Jews attend synagogue services on Shabbat even if they do not do so during the week. Services are held on Shabbat eve (Friday night), Shabbat morning (Saturday morning), and late Shabbat afternoon (Saturday afternoon).

With the exception of Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

, which is referred to in the Torah as the "Shabbat of Shabbats", days of public fasting are postponed or advanced if they coincide with Shabbat. Mourners sitting shivah (week of mourning subsequent to the death of a spouse or first-degree relative) outwardly conduct themselves normally for the duration of the day and are forbidden to display public signs of mourning.

According to Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

, God via the Torah commands Jews to observe (refrain from forbidden activity) and remember (with words, thoughts, and actions) the Shabbat, and these two actions are symbolized by the two Shabbat candles
Shabbat candles
Shabbat candles are candles lit on Friday nights, 18 minutes before sunset, to usher in the Jewish Sabbath.Lighting Shabbat candles is a rabbinically mandated law. Candlelighting is traditionally done by the woman of the household, but in the absence of a woman, it may be done by man...

 which are lit 18 to 40 minutes ("Tosefet Shabbat") before the onset of Shabbat by Jewish women, usually the mother/wife, though men who live alone are required to do so themselves. It is customary to light two candles, although some families light more, sometimes in accordance with the number of children.

Although most Shabbat laws are restrictive (see below), the fourth of the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

 in Exodus is taken by the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 to allude to the positive commandments of the Shabbat. These include:
  • Honouring Shabbat (kavod Shabbat): Preparing for the upcoming Shabbat by bathing, having a haircut, and cleaning and beautifying the home (with flowers, for example). On Shabbat itself, wearing festive clothing and refraining from unpleasant conversation. It is customary to avoid talk about money or business matters on Shabbat.
  • Recitation of Kiddush
    Kiddush
    Kiddush , literally, "sanctification," is a blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify the Shabbat and Jewish holidays.-Significance:...

    over a cup of wine
    Kosher wine
    Kosher wine is grape wine produced according to Judaism's religious law, specifically, Jewish dietary laws .To be considered kosher, Sabbath-observant Jews must be involved in the entire winemaking process and any ingredients used, including finings, must be kosher...

     at the beginning of the first and second Shabbat meals, or at a reception after the conclusion of morning prayers (see list of Jewish prayers and blessings)

  • Eating three festive meals. Meals begin with a blessing over two loaves of bread (lechem mishneh), usually a braided challah
    Challah
    Challah also khale ,, berches , barkis , bergis , chałka , vánočka , zopf and kitke , is a special braided bread eaten on...

    , which is symbolic of the double portion of manna
    Manna
    Manna or Manna wa Salwa , sometimes or archaically spelled mana, is the name of an edible substance that God provided for the Israelites during their travels in the desert according to the Bible.It was said to be sweet to the taste, like honey....

     which fell for the Jewish people during their 40 years in the desert after the Exodus
    The Exodus
    The Exodus is the story of the departure of the Israelites from ancient Egypt described in the Hebrew Bible.Narrowly defined, the term refers only to the departure from Egypt described in the Book of Exodus; more widely, it takes in the subsequent law-givings and wanderings in the wilderness...

     from Egypt
    Ancient Egypt
    Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

    . It is customary to serve meat or fish, and sometimes both, for the Shabbat evening and morning meals. The third meal, eaten late Shabbat afternoon, is called Seudah Shlishit
    Seudah Shlishit
    Seudah Shlishit is the "third meal" customarily eaten by Sabbath-observing Jews on Shabbat .-Practices:According to Halakha, the meal is to be eaten in the afternoon...

    (literally, "Third Meal"). This is generally a light meal and may be parve or dairy
    Dairy
    A dairy is a business enterprise established for the harvesting of animal milk—mostly from cows or goats, but also from buffalo, sheep, horses or camels —for human consumption. A dairy is typically located on a dedicated dairy farm or section of a multi-purpose farm that is concerned...

    .
  • Enjoying Shabbat (oneg Shabbat): Engaging in pleasurable activities such as eating, singing, spending time with the family and marital relations.

  • Recitation of Havdalah
    Havdalah
    Havdalah is a Jewish religious ceremony that marks the symbolic end of Shabbat and holidays, and ushers in the new week. Shabbat ends on Saturday night after the appearance of three stars in the sky...

    at the conclusion of Shabbat at nightfall (over a cup of wine, and with the use of fragrant spices and a candle).

Friday night


Though according to Jewish law Shabbat starts a few minutes before sunset, in the summer when sunset is late many Jews start Shabbat early, by lighting the Shabbat candles and/or attending Kabbalat Shabbat services. The Kabbalat Shabbat service is a festive service sung before the evening service, which highlights the arrival of the Shabbat. The actual evening service is very similar to the weeknight evening services with a few additions and changes with emphases on the origins of Shabbat.

In a traditional home, the Friday night dinner is started by two songs; one is to welcome two Shabbat angels into the house and the other is to thank the wife for the work she has done over the past week. After blessings on wine and special bread (challah
Challah
Challah also khale ,, berches , barkis , bergis , chałka , vánočka , zopf and kitke , is a special braided bread eaten on...

) a festive meal ensues. Each meal on Shabbat has its own group of songs to sing during meals.

The 39 Melakhot



Jewish law (halakha)
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 prohibits doing any form of melakhah (מְלָאכָה, plural melakhot) on Shabbat, with some exceptions. Though melakhah is commonly translated as "work" in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, a better definition is "deliberate activity" or "skill and craftmanship". There are 39 categories of prohibited activities (melakhot) listed in Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 Tractate Shabbat
Shabbat (Talmud)
Shabbat is first tractate in the Order of Moed, of the Mishnah and Talmud. The tractate consists of 24 chapters.The tractate primarily deals with laws relating to Shabbat , and the activities prohibited on Shabbat and distinguishes between Biblical prohibitions and Rabbinic prohibitions...

  Chapter 7, Mishna 2).

Different streams of Judaism view the prohibition on work in different ways. Observant Orthodox
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 and Conservative
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

 Jews refrain from performing the prohibited activities. These prohibited activities are exegetically
Exegesis
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

 derived – based on juxtaposition of corresponding Biblical passages – from the kinds of work that were necessary for the construction of the Tabernacle. They are not directly listed in the Torah; elsewhere, the Mishnah observes that "the laws of Shabbat [...] are like mountains hanging by a hair, for they are little Scripture but many laws". Many religious scholars
Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

 have pointed out that these labors have in common activity that is "creative," or that exercises control or dominion over one's environment
Environment (biophysical)
The biophysical environment is the combined modeling of the physical environment and the biological life forms within the environment, and includes all variables, parameters as well as conditions and modes inside the Earth's biosphere. The biophysical environment can be divided into two categories:...

.

The 39 categories of melakhah are: ploughing earth, sowing, reaping, binding sheaves, threshing, winnowing, selecting, grinding, sifting, kneading, baking, shearing wool, washing wool, beating wool, dyeing wool, spinning, weaving, making two loops, weaving two threads, separating two threads, tying, untying, sewing stitches, tearing, trapping, slaughtering, flaying, tanning, scraping hide, marking hides, cutting hide to shape, writing two or more letters, erasing two or more letters, building, demolishing, extinguishing a fire, kindling a fire, putting the finishing touch on an object and transporting an object between the private domain and the public domain, or for a distance of 4 cubit
Cubit
The cubit is a traditional unit of length, based on the length of the forearm. Cubits of various lengths were employed in many parts of the world in Antiquity, in the Middle Ages and into Early Modern Times....

s within the public domain.

Each melakhah has derived prohibitions of various kinds. There are, therefore, many more forbidden activities on the Shabbat; all are traced back to one of the 39 above principal melakhot.

Given the above, the 39 melakhot are not so much activities as "categories of activity." For example, while "winnowing" usually refers exclusively to the separation of chaff
Chaff
Chaff is the dry, scaly protective casings of the seeds of cereal grain, or similar fine, dry, scaly plant material such as scaly parts of flowers, or finely chopped straw...

 from grain
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

, and "selecting" refers exclusively to the separation of debris from grain, they refer in the Talmudic sense to any separation of intermixed materials which renders edible that which was inedible. Thus, filtering undrinkable water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 to make it drinkable falls under this category, as does picking small bones from fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

. (Gefilte fish
Gefilte fish
Gefilte fish is a poached fish mince stuffed into the fish skin.More common since the Second World War are the Polish patties similar to quenelles or fish balls made from a mixture of ground deboned fish, mostly carp or pike...

is one solution to this problem.)

Use of electricity



Orthodox and some Conservative authorities rule that it is prohibited to turn electric
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

 devices on or off as falling under one of the 39 categories of work (melakhot). However, the authorities are not in agreement about exactly which category (or categories) this would fall under. One view is that tiny sparks are created in a switch when the circuit is closed, and this would constitute "lighting a fire" (category 37). If the appliance is one whose purpose is for light or heat (such as an incandescent lightbulb or electric oven) then the lighting or heating elements may be considered as a type of fire; if so, then turning them on constitutes both "lighting a fire" (category 37) and "cooking" (a form of baking, category 11), and turning them off would be "extinguishing a fire" (category 36).

Another view is that a device which is plugged into an electrical outlet of a wall becomes part of the building, but is nonfunctional while the switch is off; turning it on would then constitute "building" and turning it off would be "demolishing" (categories 35 and 34). Some schools of thought consider the use of electricity to be forbidden only by rabbinic injunction, rather than because it violates one of the original categories.

A common solution to the problem of electricity involves pre-set timers (Shabbat clocks) for electric appliances, to turn them on and off automatically, with no human intervention on Shabbat itself. Some Conservative authorities reject altogether the arguments for prohibiting the use of electricity. Some Orthodox also hire a "shabbas goy", a gentile to turn light switches on and off on Shabbat.

Automobiles



Orthodox and many Conservative authorities completely prohibit the use of automobiles on Shabbat as a violation of multiple categories include "igniting a fire" (category 37), "extinguishing a fire" (category 36) and "transferring between domains" (category 39). However, the Conservative movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards
Committee on Jewish Law and Standards
The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards is the central authority on halakha within Conservative Judaism; it is one of the most active and widely known committees on the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly. Within the movement it is known as the CJLS...

 permits driving to a synagogue on Shabbat, as an emergency measure, on the grounds that if Jews lost contact with synagogue life they would become lost to the Jewish people.

A halachically authorized Shabbat module
Shabbat module
The Shabbat module is a technology solution for Orthodox Jews who need to use an electronic appliance on Shabbat. The module usually overrides the usual, everyday operation of the electrical appliance and makes the operation of the appliance comply with the halachic rules of the Torah...

 added to an Amigo
Mobility scooter
A mobility scooter is a mobility aid equivalent to a wheelchair but configured like a motorscooter. It is often referred to as a power-operated vehicle/scooter or electric scooter as well.-Description:...

 power operated vehicle may be used on the observance of Shabbat for those with walking limitations. Often referred to as a Shabbat scooter or Amigo
Amigo Mobility International Inc
Amigo Mobility International Inc, founded by Allan R. Thieme in 1968, changed the mobility industry by inventing the first power operated vehicle/scooter . Located in Bridgeport, Mich., the company manufactures multiple lines of products for healthcare, commercial, transportation services and...

 Shabbat, it is manufactured by Zomet Institute in Israel, each Shabbat module application is individually inspected and certified by a Zomet representative. It is intended only for individuals whose limited mobility is dependent on a POV/scooter or automobile consistently throughout the week.

Shomer Shabbat



The term shomer Shabbat is used for a person (or organization) who adheres to Shabbat laws consistently. The shomer Shabbat is an archetype mentioned in Jewish songs (e.g., Baruch El Elyon) and the intended audience for various treatises on Jewish law and practice for Shabbat (e.g., Shemirat Shabbat ke-Hilkhata).

Technology in the service of Shabbat


When there is an urgent human or medical need which is life-threatening, it is possible to perform seemingly "forbidden" acts by modifying the relevant technology to such an extent that no law is actually violated. An example is the "Sabbath elevator
Sabbath elevator
A Shabbat elevator is an elevator which works in a special mode, operating automatically, a way to circumvent the Jewish law requiring observers to abstain from operating electric switches on Shabbat. An elevator may be marked with a sign noting that it is specially configured for Shabbat observance...

". In this mode, an elevator will stop automatically at every floor, allowing people to step on and off without anyone having to press any buttons, which would normally be needed to work. (Dynamic braking
Dynamic braking
Dynamic braking is the use of the electric traction motors of a railroad vehicle as generators when slowing the Locomotive. It is termed rheostatic if the generated electrical power is dissipated as heat in brake grid resistors, and regenerative if the power is returned to the supply line...

 is also disabled if it is normally used, shunting energy collected from downward travel, and thus the gravitational potential energy of passengers, into a resistor
Resistor
A linear resistor is a linear, passive two-terminal electrical component that implements electrical resistance as a circuit element.The current through a resistor is in direct proportion to the voltage across the resistor's terminals. Thus, the ratio of the voltage applied across a resistor's...

 network.) This prevents "violation" of the Shabbat prohibition against doing "useful work." Many rabbinical authorities consider the use of such elevators by those who are otherwise capable as a "violation" of the Shabbat, with such workarounds being for the benefit of the frail and handicapped and not being in the spirit of the day.

Many observant Jews avoid the prohibition of "carrying" in the absence of an eruv
Eruv
An Eruv is a ritual enclosure around most Orthodox Jewish and Conservative Jewish homes or communities. In such communities, an Eruv is seen to enable the carrying of objects out of doors on the Jewish Sabbath that would otherwise be forbidden by Torah law...

 by making their keys
Key (lock)
A key is an instrument that is used to operate a lock. A typical key consists of two parts: the blade, which slides into the keyway of the lock and distinguishes between different keys, and the bow, which is left protruding so that torque can be applied by the user. The blade is usually intended to...

 into a tie bar
Tie bar
There have been many forms of tie-control devised since the 19th century, when ties first became a regular part of fashion. Clips, chains, pins have all been used to do one simple thing: to keep a tie from flapping, falling or otherwise presenting anything other than a neat appearance...

, or part of a belt
Belt (clothing)
A belt is a flexible band or strap, typically made of leather or heavy cloth, and worn around the waist. A belt supports trousers or other articles of clothing.-History:...

 buckle or brooch
Brooch
A brooch ; also known in ancient times as a fibula; is a decorative jewelry item designed to be attached to garments. It is usually made of metal, often silver or gold but sometimes bronze or some other material...

. The key thereby becomes a legitimate article of clothing
Clothing
Clothing refers to any covering for the human body that is worn. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of nearly all human societies...

 or jewelry
Jewellery
Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.With some exceptions, such as medical alert bracelets or military dog tags, jewellery normally differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to...

, which may be worn, rather than carried. Some also use an elastic band which has clips on both ends, and keys are placed between them as an integral link in the band, which may then be considered a belt.

In recent years, the Shabbat lamp
Shabbat lamp
A Shabbat lamp is a special lamp that has movable parts to expose or block out its light so it can be turned "on" or "off" while its power physically remains on...

 has been developed to allow a light in a room to be turned on/off at will while the electricity remains on. A special mechanism blocks out the light when the off position is desired without violating Shabbat.

Permitted desecration



In the event that a human life
Life
Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased , or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate...

 is in danger (pikuach nefesh
Pikuach Nefesh
The Hebrew term pikuakh nefesh describes the principle in Jewish law that the preservation of human life overrides virtually any other religious consideration...

), a Jew is not only allowed, but required, to violate any Shabbat law that stands in the way of saving that person, excluding murder, idolatry, and forbidden sexual acts. The concept of life being in danger is interpreted broadly: for example, it is mandated that one violate the Shabbat to bring a woman in active labor to a hospital. Lesser, rabbinic restrictions are often violated under much less urgent circumstances (a patient who is ill but not critically so).
Various other legal principles closely delineate which activities constitute desecration of the Shabbat. Examples of these include the principle of shinui ("change" or "deviation"): A severe violation becomes a non-severe one if the prohibited act was performed in a way that would be considered abnormal on a weekday. Examples include writing with one's non-dominant hand (according to many rabbinic authorities). This legal principle operates bedi'avad (ex post facto) and does not cause a forbidden activity to be permitted barring extenuating circumstances.

Liberal views


Generally, adherents of Reform
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 and Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern American-based Jewish movement based on the ideas of Mordecai Kaplan . The movement views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization. It originated as a branch of Conservative Judaism, before it splintered...

 believe that the individual Jew determines whether to follow Shabbat prohibitions or not. For example, some Jews might find activities, such as writing or cooking for leisure
Leisure
Leisure, or free time, is time spent away from business, work, and domestic chores. It is also the periods of time before or after necessary activities such as eating, sleeping and, where it is compulsory, education....

, to be enjoyable enhancements to Shabbat and its holiness, and therefore may encourage such practices. Many Reform Jews believe that what constitutes "work" is different for each person, and that only what the person considers "work" is forbidden. Radical Hungarian-born Reform
Reform movement in Judaism
The Reform movement in Judaism, originally named Reformed Society of Israelites, for Promoting true Principles of Judaism, according to its Purity and Spirit, is a historic and on-going religious and social movement that originated simultaneously in the early nineteenth century in the United States...

 rabbi Ignaz Einhorn even shifted his congregation's Shabbat worship to Sundays.

More rabbinically traditional Reform and Reconstruction Jews believe that these halakhot in general may be valid, but that it is up to each individual to decide how and when to apply them. A small fraction of Jews, in the Progressive Jewish community, accept these laws much the same way as Orthodox Jews.

Encouraged activities


All Jewish denominations
Jewish denominations
Jewish religious movements , sometimes called "denominations" or "branches", include different groups which have developed among Jews from ancient times and especially in the modern era among Ashkenazi Jews living in anglophone countries...

 encourage the following activities on Shabbat:
  • Reading, studying and discussing Torah
    Torah
    Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

     and commentary, Mishnah
    Mishnah
    The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

     and Talmud
    Talmud
    The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

    , learning some Halakha
    Halakha
    Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

     and Midrash
    Midrash
    The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

    .
  • Synagogue
    Synagogue
    A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

     attendance for prayers
    Jewish services
    Jewish prayer are the prayer recitations that form part of the observance of Judaism. These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, are found in the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book....

    ;
  • Spending time with other Jews and socializing with family, friends and guests at Shabbat meals (hachnasat orchim, "hospitality");
  • Singing zemirot
    Zemirot
    Zemirot or Z'mirot are Jewish hymns, usually sung in the Hebrew or Aramaic languages, but sometimes also in Yiddish or Ladino. The best known zemirot are those sung around the table during Shabbat and Jewish holidays...

    , special songs for the Shabbat meal (commonly sung during or after a meal)
  • Marital relations between husband and wife
  • Sleeping

Special Shabbats



The Special Shabbats are the Shabbats that precede important Jewish holiday
Jewish holiday
Jewish holidays are days observed by Jews as holy or secular commemorations of important events in Jewish history. In Hebrew, Jewish holidays and festivals, depending on their nature, may be called yom tov or chag or ta'anit...

s: e.g. Shabbat ha-Gadol is the Shabbat preceding Passover
Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

, Shabbat Zachor is the Shabbat preceding Purim
Purim
Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman, a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther .Purim is celebrated annually according to the Hebrew calendar on the 14th...

, and Shabbat Teshuva is the Shabbat preceding Yom Kippur.

Sabbath adaptation



Most Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s do not observe a Saturday Shabbat, but instead observe a weekly day of worship on Sunday
Sunday
Sunday is the day of the week between Saturday and Monday. For most Christians, Sunday is observed as a day for worship of God and rest, due to the belief that it is Lord's Day, the day of Christ's resurrection....

, which is often called the "Lord's Day
Lord's Day
Lord's Day is a Christian name for Sunday, the day of communal worship. It is observed by most Christians as the weekly memorial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is said in the four canonical Gospels of the New Testament to have been witnessed alive from the dead early on the first day of...

".

Several Christian denominations, such as the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

, the Seventh Day Baptist
Seventh Day Baptist
Seventh Day Baptists are Christian Baptists who observe Sabbath on the seventh-day of the week in accord with their understanding of the Biblical Sabbath for the Judeo-Christian tradition...

s, and the True Jesus Church
True Jesus Church
The True Jesus Church is a non-denominational Christian church that originated in Beijing, China, in 1917. The current elected chairman of the TJC International Assembly is Preacher Yong-Ji Lin. Today, there are approximately 2.5 million members in fifty three countries and six continents...

, observe seventh-day Sabbath. This observance is celebrated from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Some of Messianic Judaism
Messianic Judaism
Messianic Judaism is a syncretic religious movement that arose in the 1960s and 70s. It blends evangelical Christian theology with elements of Jewish terminology and ritual....

 considers its Sabbath to be kept according to Jewish doctrinal tradition, while most of Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism or Rabbinism has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Talmud...

 disagrees.

The principle of weekly Sabbath also exists in other beliefs: compare the Babylonian calendar
Babylonian calendar
The Babylonian calendar was a lunisolar calendar with years consisting of 12 lunar months, each beginning when a new crescent moon was first sighted low on the western horizon at sunset, plus an intercalary month inserted as needed by decree. The calendar is based on a Sumerian precedecessor...

, the Buddhist uposatha
Uposatha
The Uposatha is Buddhist day of observance, in existence from the Buddha's time , and still being kept today in Buddhist countries. The Buddha taught that the Uposatha day is for "the cleansing of the defiled mind," resulting in inner calm and joy...

, the Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic jumu'ah
Jumu'ah
Jumu'ah is a congregational prayer that Muslims hold every Friday, just after noon in lieu of dhuhr...

, the Neopagan sabbat
Wheel of the Year
The Wheel of the Year is a Neopagan term for the annual cycle of the Earth's seasons. It consists of eight festivals, spaced at approximately even intervals throughout the year. These festivals are referred to as Sabbats...

, the Bahá'í calendar
Bahá'í calendar
The Bahá'í calendar, also called the Badí‘ calendar , used by the Bahá'í Faith, is a solar calendar with regular years of 365 days, and leap years of 366 days. Years are composed of 19 months of 19 days each, plus an extra period of "Intercalary Days"...

, the Unification Church
Unification Church
The Unification Church is a new religious movement founded by Korean religious leader Sun Myung Moon. In 1954, the Unification Church was formally and legally established in Seoul, South Korea, as The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity . In 1994, Moon gave the church...

 Ahn Shi Il, and the parody-religion Pastafarian weekend.

See also

  • Baqashot
    Baqashot
    The Baqashot are a collection of supplications, songs, and prayers that have been sung by the Sephardic Aleppian Jewish community and other congregations for centuries each week on Shabbat morning from midnight until dawn. Usually they are recited during the weeks of winter, when the nights are...

  • Jewish holidays
  • Jewish services for Sabbath
  • Moed
    Moed
    Moed is the second Order of the Mishnah, the first written recording of the Oral Torah of the Jewish people . Of the six orders of the Mishna, Moed is the third shortest. The order of Moed consists of 12 tractates:# Shabbat: or Shabbath deals with the 39 prohibitions of "work" on the Shabbat...

  • Sabbath breaking
    Sabbath breaking
    Sabbath desecration is the failure to observe the Biblical Sabbath, and is usually considered a sin and a breach of a holy day in relation to Jewish Sabbath , the Sabbath in seventh-day churches, and in some other Christian traditions in relation to the Lord's Day, Sunday, traditionally seen as the...

  • Sabbath in Christianity
  • Sabbath mode
    Sabbath mode
    Sabbath mode, also known as Shabbos mode or Shabbat mode, is a feature in many modern home appliances, including ovens and refrigerators which is intended to allow the appliances to be used by Shabbat-observant Jews on the Shabbat and Jewish holidays.Jews are forbidden from doing creative work on...

  • Shabbos goy
  • Shabbat in Karaism
  • Sabbath in Seventh-day Adventism
    Sabbath in Seventh-day Adventism
    Sabbath is an important part of the belief and practice of seventh-day Christians. These believers observe Sabbath on the seventh Hebrew day of the week, from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, in similar manner as in Judaism, rather than Lord's day on Sunday like a most forms of Christianity...


External links



  • A detailed summary of the laws of Shabbat from Torah.org, based on the Shulchan Aruch
    Shulchan Aruch
    The Shulchan Aruch also known as the Code of Jewish Law, is the most authoritative legal code of Judaism. It was authored in Safed, Israel, by Yosef Karo in 1563 and published in Venice two years later...