The Festivities of Shabbat, The Holiest Jewish Day – TechMAG



TechMAG did a deep research about some of the Jews Events and Festivals in which Shabbat is described below with massive details in it like its history and celebrations across the world. 

15 Sep 2018

What is SHABBAT?

In Judaism, Shabbat is the other term used for a free day for rest without any work. It is usually the last Day of the week with high religious significance in the Jewish religion. This day has also found important in Christianity where “Seventh-day Baptists and seventh day Adventists exist.

It is considered to be a day of restrictions and prayers however the true nature of the day is least understood. To the observers of Shabbat, it is indeed a precious gift from God, for which they wait for the whole week. It is one of the Ten Commandments in Judaism and celebrated with more enthusiasm than other high holidays.


The word Shabbat in Hebrew is a derived word from Shabbat and Shalom that means “cessation, to end, peace, or rest”.

It is usually used as a phrase of wishing or greeting someone to have peace on their day. You can wish others Shabbat from its beginning till the evening of the next day. In Jewish literature, the work Shabbat is associated with queen and is considered to be important in Shabbat religion.


shabbatWhat is the significance of Shabbat?

Shabbat is one of the most commonly celebrated religious observances in Judaism. On this religious day, Jews remember and praise the creation of heavens and earth in the preceding 6 days. Also, the exodus is remembered when Israelites were saved from the slavery by their gods from which they suffered after the death of Joseph. On this religious day, Jews also pray for Messianic age.

It begins on Friday afternoon more precisely 18 minutes before the sunset when candles are lit and ends on Saturday after 40 minutes of nightfall when three stars are visible in the sky. Shabbat times are specified in this regard.

It is not considered as a special day for prayers indeed it contains the three usual prayers s does any other day. It is the festivity of Shabbat that differentiates it from other days.

What is Special Shabbat?

Special Shabbat or shabbatoth are those days of Shabbat which are followed by religious holidays of Hebrew or Jewish calendar like Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, Yom Kippur, Purim, and Passover etc.

On special Shabbat, special events are conducted and special celebrations are done that differentiate these from regular Shabbat.

  • Shabbat Mevorchim: It includes celebration preceding new month.
  • Shabbat Rosh Chodesh: It coincides the new month with Rosh Hashanah
  • Shabbat Shuvah: It is observed between the two days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It indicates the celebration of 10 days of repentance as the meaning of shuva means “to return” in Hebrew.
  • Shabbat Shirah: It includes the Parsha Beshalac on which Torah reading and recitation is done mainly the part of Torah known as “song of the sea”. This Shabbat is for kids as the song of the sea was sung by Israeli kids when they passed through the red sea and eventually gained freedom.
  • The Four Parshiyot: The Four Parshiyot are given names according to Torah including:
  1. Shabbat Shekalim is for adult males in which half of Biblical shekel is contributed by them. It is celebrated before Adar, the first month of Hebrew calendar
  2. Shabbat Zachor precedes Purim and is for the memory of attack of Amalek.
  3. Shabbat Parah is celebrated before Ha Chodesh and includes the preparation for Passovers.
  4. Shabbat Ha Chodesh precedes Nissan, the first month of Hebrew including the celebration of Passover
  • Shabbat Chazon: It is also known as saddest Shabbat or the blackest Shabbat of the year as it includes the mournful fast of Tisha.
  • Shabbat Ha Godal: It is celebrated immediately before the Passover.
  • Shabbat Nachamu: It is the first Haftarah leading to Rosh Hashanah. It is one of the happiest Shabbat celebrated with singing, dancing, and more entertaining ways.

What day is Shabbat?

Shabbat is celebrated on Friday of every week. What time does Shabbat start? Typically it begins in the afternoon on Friday when people leave their offices to start its preparation. It typically begins at the sunset on Friday and Shabbat ends till the sunset of Saturday. So Shabbat Friday marks its beginning and holy activities are started.

What do Jews do on Shabbat?

As soon as Shabbat begins, people leave for their home and start preparation for Shabbat. The preparation usually includes cleaning of houses, bathing, wearing best dresses, preparing special meals and much more. Some people who observe Shabbat with great fervor, start its preparation even before.

Shabbat Candle lightening: This is one of the most followed ceremonies on Shabbat that indicates the beginning of Shabbat. Shabbat candle lightening time starts before the sunset more precisely 18 minutes before the sunset during which Shabos candles are lit. Traditionally Shabbat candle lightening should be done by the women and the girls in the house. It is said that 2 candles are lightened representing the two basic commandments including Zakhor and Shamor and blessings are recited while performing this. The candle lightening time is the most awaited time as soon as Shabbat begins. After candle lightening, Shabbat candle blessings are recited.


Zakhor and Shamor:

These are the two basic commandments of Shabbat that help the Jews to remember the significance of Shabbat and commemoration of events. The work Zakhor means to remember, whereas the word Shamor means to observe.

The Shabbat festivity:

After candle lightning and brief ceremony of Shabbat services, the festivity of Shabbat begins. Family gatherings are arranged followed by Shabbat dinner.

  • Kiddush recitation is one of the most followed rituals of Shabbat which include recitation of prayers and blessings over the Shabbat meal. This is usually performed by the male member of the family. It is a custom to recite Kiddush over 2 loaves of challah. Challah is a sweet dish that is egg-shaped. It is then eaten by all the family members including other dishes made according to Traditional Shabbat dinner menu.
  • Birkat ha -mazon is another blessing that is recited after the Shabbat meal is over included in Friday night Shabbat prayers. This is followed by the recitation of Torah, after which it is preferred that the family should take rest.
  • Shabbat services begin on the next day i.e. Saturday early in the morning and include Shabbat meals and Kiddush recitation. Cholent eating is completed around afternoon after which a nap is preferred.
  • In the evening, the Jews enjoy their time in certain activities like walking, playing checkers and other fun activities.
  • Shabbat for kids has special importance in this regard where they find time to enjoy and play with their families. They are taken to the parks and enjoy leisure time with family hence Shabbat for children is a way to enjoy family time.
  • It is a tradition to take the third meal before sunset, at which Shabbat is going to be completed. It ends 40 minutes after sunset when three stars are visible in the sky.


What is Cholent?:

Traditional Shabbat dinner menu includes a special dish known as cholent. It is a tradition to make cholent and is cooked very slowly. The dish has taken its name from the French ancestors of Jews. It contains meat, beans, barley, certain vegetables and spices and is one of the main dishes on Shabbat table.

What is Melachah?:

It is associated with the restrictions on Shabbat day which are observed by Jews. In Torah, the word melachah is translated as work and described a melekh. It is generally described as the work involving creativity and all the things involved in the creation of Sanctuary. However over the passage of time and deep study, some of the acts are forbidden on Shabbat day that is divided into 39 categories of which some are: reaping, plowing, sowing, threshing, grinding, kneading, baking, washing spinning etc. Hence all the activities involving any of the prohibited acts should not be observed on Shabbat.

The events or rituals of Shabbat:

There are many demonizations of Jews in which the variable activities are done on Shabbat. However, there are some Shabbat traditions and customs which are followed in all demonizations of Jewish dominations. What happens on Shabbat mainly includes:

  • Welcoming of Shabbat: It is the honor given to the holy event of Shabbat that includes cleaning, washing, bathing, decorating home, buying Shabbat candlesticks etc. before the Shabbat start time.
  • Torah recitation: As we know Torah is one of the five books of Moses and used as a central reference in Jews. On Shabbat, Torah is read and discussed along with the commentary. It is studied among groups of people.
  • Mishna recitation: Mishnah is also called oral Torah and has been mention in Judaism literature since third century CE. In indicated the time of Jew persecution and consist of six orders.
  • Talmud recitation: A Hebrew blessing from Rabbinic Judaism, Talmud usually means the collection of writing starting from Post-Biblical times. It is considered to be the basis of all Jewish laws.
  • Learning Halakah and Midrash: It is also considered to be one of the activities done on Shabbat service and indicated Jewish religious laws.
  • Synagogue visitation for prayers: it is a tradition that Shabbat prayer should be performed in synagogues to take full advantage of Shabbat hours.
  • The Shabbat hospitality: This is one of the main events done on Shabbat in which social gatherings are perused. People of a family come along and gather and spend time with one another and Shabbat meals are arranged to enjoy the event that is usually called Kosher.
  • Zimorth singing: It is one of the Jewish hymns that is in Hebrew language but can also be in other languages. This song has a special association with Shabbat and is sun on the Shabbat dinner table or any meal table during or after the meal. These songs are further subdivided as special Shabbat meal songs like lunch songs, just before sundown meal song etc. It is considered as a holy prayer before or during the meals.
  • Kiddush recitation: It is another ritual performed in which blessings and prayers are recited by men of the family over Shabbat food especially challah.
  • Havdalah: It is another important ritual performed when Shabbat is near its end mainly 45 minutes to one hour after sunset. The word Havdalah means ending or separation and indicates the separation between the Shabbat and other days, more precisely the sacred and secular days. During the ritual of Havdalah, blessings are recited usually on wine, candles, and spices in the home.

It marks the end of Shabbat and is performed on Saturday night near nightfall. Usually, it consists of three blessing recited over three above-mentioned things one by one.

  • Other activities include Shabbat service prayers, the marital relationship between husband and wife, which is considered sacred in this day and after doing all the activities the people should sleep as it is considered peaceful. Shabbat music is also being enjoyed till Shabbat Saturday.

Changes in Shabbat over time:

Over the period of time, Shabbat is not observed on Saturday by most of the Christians instead the Shabbat worship is done on Sunday. Sunday is also known as “Lord’s day” that is considered as the principal day of worship or the day of resurrection of Jesus.

Other such High Holidays are celebrated from Friday evening till Saturday sunset. However, most of the Jews follow Shabbat on weekly basis as the belief run since long.

Ivanka Trump is the daughter and advisor of President USA, Donald Trump. Ivanka Trump Shabbat is way out of tradition in the past year that might change the way Shabbat was celebrated before.

Shabbat observers believe that it is Shabbat celebration is a great blessing for them and they set aside their work and other pursuits on this day for which they wait for the whole week. In 2018, the festivity of Shabbat will continue in the same manner as it has been observed before.

pursuits on this day for which they wait for the whole week. In 2018, the festivity of Shabbat will continue in the same manner as it has been observed before.

Happy Shabbat from TechMAG.

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