Sabbath is a day for Jews to rest and are forbidden to do any work because its holy day, not just a day off. They are forbidden to do work so they can devote themselves to prayer and to study the torah. By resting on Sabbath, Jews show their belief that god created the world, and rested on the 7th day, as they rest on Sabbath, they see themselves imitating God.
Sabbath is also used as a way for the family to spend quality time together after a week of working and of school. Reformed Jews believe that it is up to each individual person to decide whether to follow the prohibitions on Sabbath or not, for example some reformed Jews may find cooking or writing do not count as ‘work’ and do not follow some of the rules of Sabbath. Orthodox Jews generally follow the rules strictly, and accept them all.
Melachot is the name given to the 39 prohibited activities on Sabbath, they aren’t so much activities but more like categories of activities, some people are confused by some of the prohibited activities for example lighting a fire, we can make fire by using matches or a lighter or rubbing to sticks together, but it also includes turning on a light because that means producing fire in a light bulb. Jews are also not allowed to drive, watch television, take photographs, go fishing or use the telephone (except in emergencies).
Many people have noticed that all the Melachot have something in common, they are all something creative. After preparing for Sabbath, the Sabbath begins by setting the table it should be set with at least two candles, representing the dual commands to observe the Sabbath. There should also be a glass of wine and two loaves of challah, representing the dual portion of manna that God provided for the Israelites in preparation for Sabbath in the desert. The challah should be covered with a bread cover or towel, and loaves should be whole.
The candles are lit after no more than 18 minutes before sundown, they are lit by the women of the household, usually the mother, and after lighting the candles she waves her hands over the two candles to welcome the Sabbath. She then covers her eyes, and recites a blessing, Baruch atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melech ha-olam asher keed’shanu b’meetzvotav v’tzeevanu l’had’lik neir shel Shabbat, after the blessing she removers her hands from her eyes and she looks at the candles completing the mitzvah of lighting candles.
At the synagogue, there is an evening service called Kabbalat Sabbath and Ma’ariv, but it can also be performed at home between lighting the candles and the dinner on the evening of the Sabbath. They recite Kiddush, Baruch atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melech ha-olam, borei p’riy ha-gafen, while holding a cup of wine no less then 3. 3 ounces, it is said by the head of the household or any male over the age of thirteen, the one reciting the blessing drink at least 2 ounces and then distributed the rest around those who are included in the Kiddush.
Kiddush is prefaced with the words “Savri Maranan” (By your leave, gentleman) to call the family to attention so do not have recite the blessing themselves. If at the synagogue the rabbi recites the blessing over everyone in the synagogue. As everyone leaves the synagogue they wish each other ‘Good Shabbos’ or ‘Shabbat Shalom’ (a Sabbath of peace). After Kiddush and before the evening meal everyone in the house most wash there hands, not for cleanliness, but for purification, they fill up a cup then pour if over the right hand top to bottom, then the same with the left hand.
Before wiping their hands on the towel, they recite a blessing Baruch atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melech ha-olam asher keed’shanu b’meetzvotav v’tzeevanu al n’tilat yadayim. There is no amen at the end of this blessing because each person recites their own blessing, and amen is only said after a blessing or prayer if one person recites on behalf of everybody else, then the reply with Amen. Immediately after washing hands, the head of house uncovers the two challah loaves and lifts them up and recites Baruch atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melech ha-olam ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz.
After the last blessing, the challah are then ripped or sliced and passed around the table for everybody, after this the family meal may begin. On Saturday morning, many families go to the synagogue for a morning service which includes blessings and prayers. Although traditional Jewish liturgy contains three Services per day, the Sabbath Morning Service is considered by many to be the main Service of the week. it provides an opportui?? nity for Jews to gather in celebration of the Sabbath. The service includes the traditional daily prayers, and have additional prayers included. The service will usually follow this form:
On entering the synagogue they have a private meditation called Ma Tovu, then a blessing before putting on their tallit. Many parts of the daily Preliminary Morning Service are said by congregants at home before coming to synagogue, or else silently on arrival. They then have morning blessings of thanksgiving, followed by blessings and psalms ending with the song of Moses. They then recite the Shema, it is an affirmation of Judaism and a declaration of faith in one God. The obligation to recite the Shema is separate from the obligation to pray and a Jew is obligated to say Shema in the morning and at night.
After the Shema, the Amidah is recited followed by the torah service, also known as the standing prayer. This is when the scrolls are carried around the synagogue and the week’s portion of the torah is read. This is followed by the reading from the prophets, the Haftarah. Then Aleynu, this is praises to God, then psalms and hymns. Finally Kiddush again, said over wine and challot. After the morning service, the families then return home and spend the afternoon quietly together. The Sabbath concludes in the home with Havdalah (separation) service.
A special candle is lit and a blessing is said over wine. Then a spice box is passed around by everyone so that the sweetness of Sabbaths remains with them for the following week. ‘blessed you are, Hashem, our God King of the universe, who creates special fragrance’. A blessing is then said over the lit candle and then this prayer ‘blessed are you, Hashem out God, king of the universe, who separates between holy and secular, between lights and darkness, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six days of labour.
Blessed are you, Hashem, who separates between holy and secular. ‘ Then most of the wine if drunk, the remainder is then used to put the candle out, then everyone wish’s each other Shavuah Tov, meaning a good week. Jews must celebrate Sabbath, to commemorate God resting after creating the world. There are very strict rules in the torah, instructing Jews to observe every Sabbath and the punishment if they do not follow the commandment.
The instructions appear in the Ten Commandments, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it, six days shall you work and accomplish all your work; but the seventh day is Sabbath to Hashem, your G-d; you shall not do any work – you, your son, your daughter, your slave, your maidservant, your animal, and your convert within your gates – for in six days Hashem made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, Hashem blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it. ‘
The same instructions appear again in the book of Leviticus: ‘For six days labour shall be done, and the seventh day is a day of complete rest, a holy convocation, you shall not do any work; it is a Sabbath of Hashem in all your dwelling places. ‘ These quotes clearly show the importance and the reasons of observing Sabbath to Jews, it also states in the torah the punishment if Jews do not follow the torah instructions and do not observe Sabbath: ‘You shall observe the Sabbath, for it is holy to you; its desecrators shall be out to death for whoever does work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among its people.
But in modern days, nobody is suggesting that any Jews who break the Sabbath should be killed, but they do strongly believe that the command not to work and to observe Shabbat is very important in a Jews life. Laying aside one day every week for Sabbath can have an effect on a Jews life, but the effect changes depending on what age they are. For example, a 15 year old may want to go out shopping with friends, but because they celebrate Sabbath it restricts them for doing that on Sabbath due to the muktzeh.
Or for someone who is older and runs a business, they may lose out business as they cannot work on a busy day. But not all the effects are bad; there are positive ones as well such as spending quality time with family and learning more about how to be a Jew. Positive effects of Sabbath, gives a young child to learn more about their religion, and what it means to be a Jew. Also to learn about why the celebrate Sabbath and other holy holidays. Also, as they keep Sabbath from a young age, it will encourage them to carry on keeping it through their life.
By keeping Sabbath, and keeping the faith, they are ensuring their place in heaven which could also be a positive effect. A third positive maybe by laying aside a whole day for Sabbath, you spend more time as a family and stay close to each other as a family. But spending so much time together could cause friction and arguments between them, such as brother and sister falling out over a silly argument about something very small, which gets blown out of proportion.
Having a day laid aside for Sabbath, being a Saturday means it cause difficulty for Jewish children to find a weekend job where they only work on a Sunday. This wouldn’t of been such a problem a few years ago, but as the Jewish population has shrunk, it means there is less of a understanding about the Jewish culture and the religion. It also means businesses run by Jewish people may lose out on business as they close a Saturday which is could be a busy day. A main negative for Jewish teenagers is that they miss a day to go out with friends and go shopping etc.
They also miss Friday night which is a popular time to go out with a group of friends or go to parties with friends. This also leads to another effect, which could be either negative or positive depending on their own view, if a Jews birthday lands on a Saturday it may mean they couldn’t celebrate by going out if it was a milestone birthday like their 21st. It could be a positive as they would already be spending time with family, and celebrating a birthday on a holy could be special to them.
The different effects of observing Sabbath may not affect everyone at once, but may at different stages of their life, and different effects will have more of an impact on different people. To say one of them has the greatest impact would be a hard choice as they affect everyone differently. ‘It strengthens the Jewish family to share religious rituals in the home’ During Sabbath, the family spend a lot of time together preparing for the day and observing it together.