Jewish observance of Shabbat.

Essay by jmt901University, Master'sA+, December 2003

download word file, 5 pages 5.0

Downloaded 59 times

We are commanded to remember and observe the sabbath. Shabbat is the most holy of observances. The measure of a Jew is often dependent on their level of observing Shabbat. It has been said that more than the Jewish people have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has keep the Jewish people. Shabbat is one of the things that has continued to distinguished Jews throughout time. The observance of Shabbat begins with the extremely powerful rituals of lighting the Shabbat candles, reciting the Kiddush, washing our hands, and blessing the Challah. Each of these activities is highly symbolic and the deeper meanings are what make the start of Shabbat so much more than just a simple weekly family dinner.

The first ritual to usher in Shabbat is the lighting of the Shabbat candles. It is very interesting that this is one of the few time centered rituals where the responsibility falls on women.

It is though the the extra spirituality that women are said to harbor is necessary to bring Shabbat into the home. Even the number of candles lit is significant. At least two candles are necessary to recite the blessing, serving as a reminder to remember the sabbath and to keep it holy. Some families extend this tradition to include either a candle for each family member or two candles for each female member of the family. According to Greenberg, some in kabbalistic circles light seven candles, one for each day of the week, while others light ten, one for each commandment in the Decalogue (Greenberg, 166) or perhaps for the the ten sefirot of the Kabbalah. If Shabbat is a foretaste of the world when the messiah comes, the light of the candles itself is a visualization of that perfection. It always seems that the Shabbat candles burn...