The Jewish Holy Days: Part : V ... continued
Jerry Katz - December 15, 2008
This is in reference to Exodus 20:11, after Fourth Commandment had been instituted when the Bible states that "because for six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and on the seventh day, he rested; therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it."
The second main commandment on the observance of Shabbat is called Shamor and it simply means to observe. For Jews this means a series of things that are specifically forbidden to do on Shabbat. This includes refraining from all "work" on that day and it is important to understand the context of how this word is used in order to comprehend the restrictions on activities that Jews find themselves under on the Shabbat. "Work" in the biblical sense actually applies to any activity which might be considered a creative action. The Torah actually prohibits "melachah" on the Shabbat which actually means the kind of work which is creative, or exercises control over one’s environment.
There are 39 categories of forbidden acts that range from operating any building implement or tool and any acts of traveling, buying or selling that would interfere with the spirit of Shabbat. Depending on how observant a Jew is these restrictions could apply to any use of electricity or motorized vehicle on this day, except in life threatening situations.
The rituals of celebrating Shabbat vary from sect to sect but almost all include a cessation of normal activities early on Friday afternoon and bathing, shaving, and cleaning ones house before the actual Shabbat commences. Shabbat begins at sunset on Friday and to begin the observance Shabbat candles are lit and a blessing is recited, usually by the woman of the house, before the actual setting of the sun.
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