The Sabbath

The Sabbath, Hebrew for "rest", is the seventh as well as the sacred day of the Jewish week. The Sabbath is observed from sundown Friday until the appearance of three stars the next Saturday night. According to the prescriptions of the Torah, it must be held firstly by abstaining from any kind of work. The Sabbath is the ethos Jew, is a sign of the relationship between God and the Jewish people. The celebration of the Sabbath is prescribed in the Ten Commandments received by Moses.

Etymology and origins

Derived from the Hebrew word Sabbath Shavat. Although often translated as 'rest' or 'rest', another translation of these words is 'stop work'. The concept of active cessation of work is also considered more consistent with an omnipotent God's activity on the seventh day of creation.

In the version of the Ten Commandments from Deuteronomy 5:12-15, the word "remember" (Zakhor) is replaced by "care" (shamor) . From this we learn two main elements of the observance of the Sabbath: to remember and honor through rituals and pleasant things, and care by refraining from prohibited work on that day.

Violation of the Sabbath

When the Israelites were held captive by the Babylonians, they believed it was divine retribution for some grievous sin, and assumed that was the violation of the Shabbat ( the Book of Jeremiah 17:19-27). Like Jeremiah, the prophet Ezekiel lamented in his day because Saturday was largely ignored. By scrutinizing the future, Isaiah foresaw the conversion of the Gentiles and promised a blessing for those who keep the Sabbath. After the captivity, the Jews fell back into disrepair over the Sabbath, and Nehemiah urged a reform in order to promote such observance ( Nehemiah 10:31-13:15-22).

Comments are closed.