Sabbath


Sabbath
Sabbathless, adj.Sabbathlike, adj.
/sab"euhth/, n.
1. the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as the day of rest and religious observance among Jews and some Christians. Ex. 20:8-11.
2. the first day of the week, Sunday, similarly observed by most Christians in commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ.
3. any special day of prayer or rest resembling the Sabbath: Friday is the Muslim Sabbath.
4. (sometimes l.c.) a period of rest.
5. (sometimes l.c.) Demonology. Sabbat.
[bef. 900; ME, var. of sabbat, OE < L sabbatum < Gk sábbaton < Heb shabbath rest]
Syn. 2. See Sunday.

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Day of the week set aside for worship and observance of religious duties in Judaism and Christianity.

The Jewish Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday and lasts until sunset the next day, during which time no ordinary work or act of labor is performed. For most Christian denominations, the Sabbath is on Sunday; prescribed conduct varies considerably, but attendance at worship services is a feature common to all. In Islam, Friday is the day of worship.

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      (from shavat, “cease,” or “desist”), day of holiness and rest observed by Jews from sunset on Friday to nightfall of the following day. The time division follows the biblical story of creation: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day” (Genesis 1:5).

      The sacredness of the Sabbath has served to unite Jews during the long course of their history and has been for them a joyous reminder of their perpetual Covenant with God. The prophets, nevertheless, often found it necessary to remind the Jews of God's commandment to keep holy the Sabbath. Since abstention from work was fundamental to Sabbath observance, God miraculously provided a double portion of manna (“bread from heaven”) on Friday so that the Israelites would not be compelled to gather food on the Sabbath during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.

      In Maccabean times (2nd century BC) observance of the Sabbath was so strict that the Jews allowed themselves to be slaughtered on that day rather than take up arms to defend themselves. Realizing that such an attitude could mean their extinction, the Jews determined to fight if attacked again on the Sabbath. The Talmud (Talmud and Midrash) sanctioned this decision and said that 39 general categories of forbidden works were suspended when life or health were seriously endangered, for “the Sabbath was given to man, not man to the Sabbath.”

      In the synagogue a portion of the Torah is read during the morning service, followed by the chanting of the Hafṭara (a selection from the prophets). Psalms are also part of the day's liturgy. During the morning Sabbath service, a Jewish boy whose 13th birthday has occurred during the previous week customarily celebrates his Bar Mitzvah (religious adulthood) and may chant the Hafṭara.

      In Jewish homes the woman of the house lights white Sabbath candles before sunset on Friday evening and pronounces a benediction. The Sabbath meal that follows is preceded by the Qiddush (Kiddush) (blessing of sanctification). An abbreviated Qiddush is recited the next morning before breakfast, which is taken after the service. A special blessing ( Havdala), emphasizing the idea of separation (between the Sabbath and weekdays, between the sacred and the profane, and between light and darkness), concludes the Sabbath.

      In modern times Orthodox Jews strive to observe the Sabbath with full solemnity. Conservative Jews vary in their practice, some seeking certain modifications to permit, for instance, travel on the Sabbath. Reform Jews, in some cases, hold synagogue services on Sunday. Among post-Reformation Christians, a few groups, such as the Seventh-day Adventists, observe Saturday as their day of rest and worship.

      A number of Sabbaths during the Jewish religious year have distinctive designations. Four occur between the end of Shevat (fifth month of the Jewish civil year) and the first day of Nisan (seventh month). The specific name of each of these Sabbaths is related to an additional reading from the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament) that replaces on that day the Mafṭir (last portion of the assigned Torah reading). For each of these four Sabbaths there is also a distinctive Hafṭara.

      Sheqalim (“shekels”), occurring on or before Adar I, refers to taxes and has as its text Exodus 30:11–16. On Zakhor (“remember”), Deuteronomy 25:17–19 reminds Jews how they were attacked by Amalek in the wilderness after their Exodus from Egypt. This Sabbath precedes the festival of Purim. On Para (“red heifer”), Numbers 19:1–22 admonishes the Jews to be ritually pure for the approaching festival of Passover (Pesaḥ). Ha-Ḥodesh (“the month”) falls shortly before Passover; the text is from Exodus 12:1–20. These four Sabbaths are known by the collective Hebrew name arbaʿ parashiyyot (“four [Bible] readings”). The Sabbath that immediately precedes Passover is called Shabbat ha-Gadol (“great Sabbath”).

      Three other Sabbaths are designated by a key word from the Hafṭara chanted on that day: Shabbat Ḥazon (Isaiah 1:1), preceding the 9th day of Av (Tisha be-Av)—a fast day; Shabbat Naḥamu (Isaiah 40:1) following the 9th of Av; and Shabbat Shuva (Hosea 14:2), immediately preceding Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

      Finally, there are Shabbat Bereshit (“Sabbath of the beginning”), when the annual cycle of Torah readings recommences with Genesis 1; Shabbat Shira (“Sabbath song”), when the triumphal song of Moses is read from Exodus 15; and the two Sabbaths of ḥol ha-moʿed (“intermediate days”), falling between the initial and final days of the Passover and Sukkot festivals.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • SABBATH — (Heb. שַׁבָּת; Shabbat; related to the verb shavat, cease, desist, rest ), the seventh day of the week, the day of rest and abstention from work. In the Bible The etiology of the Sabbath is given in Genesis 1:1–2:3, although the name of the day… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Sabbath — • The seventh day of the week among the Hebrews, the day being counted from sunset to sunset, that is, from Friday evening to Saturday evening Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Sabbath     Sabbath …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Sabbath — Sab bath, n. [OE. sabat, sabbat, F. sabbat, L. sabbatum, Gr. sa bbaton, fr. Heb. shabb[=a]th, fr. sh[=a]bath to rest from labor. Cf. {Sabbat}.] 1. A season or day of rest; one day in seven appointed for rest or worship, the observance of which… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sabbath — ► NOUN 1) (often the Sabbath) a day of religious observance and abstinence from work, kept by Jews from Friday evening to Saturday evening, and by most Christians on Sunday. 2) (also witches sabbath) a midnight pagan ritual held by witches.… …   English terms dictionary

  • Sabbath — [sab′əth] n. [ME sabat < OFr & OE, both < L sabbatum < Gr sabbaton < Heb shabat < shavat, to rest] 1. the seventh day of the week (Saturday), set aside for rest and worship and observed as such by Jews (from Friday sunset to… …   English World dictionary

  • Sabbath — (neujüdisch Schabbes), 1) Ruhetag, der siebente Wochentag vom Sonnenuntergang am Freitag an gerechnet bis ebendahin am nächsten Tage, welchen die Hebräer durch Enthaltung von aller Arbeit, Unterlassung aller Speisebereitung (daher selbst des… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Sabbath — Sabbath, Ruhetag, nach dem mosaischen Gesetze der siebente Wochentag, der Ruhe und der Verehrung des Höchsten gewidmet, wie bei den Christen der Sonntag. Diesen Tag feiern die Juden am Sonnabend. –s …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Sabbath — d.h. Ruhetag, Schabbes, der 7. Wochentag od. Sonntag der Juden, dauert vom Sonnenuntergang am Freitag bis dahin am Samstag, ist das älteste der gesetzlich vorgeschriebenen Feste und erinnert an das Ruhen Jehovas nach den 6 Schöpfungstagen sowie… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Sabbath — O.E. sabat Saturday, observed by the Jews as a day of rest, from L. sabbatum, from Gk. sabbaton, from Heb. shabbath, prop. day of rest, from shabath he rested. The Babylonians regarded seventh days as unlucky, and avoided certain activities then; …   Etymology dictionary

  • Sabbath — Contents 1 Jewish tradition 1.1 Weekly Sabbath 1.2 Weekend Sabbath …   Wikipedia


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