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What is Shabbat?

       Every Friday evening the joy of Shabbat begins for many Jewish families and for many non-Jewish observant families and individuals.
What is Shabbat?  What does it mean to have Shabbat?  For these questions we must go to the Torah; which is the first five books of Moshe, (Moses).  
      Sh'mot (Exodus) 20:8-11<><><><><><>
     (8) Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for G-D.  (9) You have six days to labor and do all your work.  (10) but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your G-D.  On it, you are not to do any kind of  work--not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates of your property.  (11) For in six days, Adonai made the heaven and the earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested.  This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.

      So why is it that if  G-D made  the seventh day  and separated it to himself,  this is what is commonly called the Sabbath; why do many observe Sunday as Sabbath?  Let us examine this further.MESSIANICPROPHECY00000001

*Baptist Dr. Edward T. Hiscox,-a paper read before a New York ministers' conference, Nov. 13, 1893, reported in New York Examiner, Nov. 16, 1893. "There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week .... Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament absolutely not. ......."To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three years' intercourse with His disciples, often conversing with them upon the Sabbath question . . . never alluded to any transference of the day; also, that during forty days of His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated........ "Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history . . . . But what a pity it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!"


*Peter R. Kraemer- Catholic Church Extension Society (1975), Chicago, Illinois. "Regarding the change from the observance of the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday, I wish to draw your attention to the facts:"1) That Protestants, who accept the Bible as the only rule of faith and religion, should by all means go back to the observance of the Sabbath. The fact that they do not, but on the contrary observe the Sunday, stultifies them in the eyes of every thinking man. "2) We Catholics do not accept the Bible as the only rule of faith. Besides the Bible we have the living Church, the authority of the Church, as a rule to guide us. We say, this Church, instituted by Christ to teach and guide man through life, has the right to change the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament and hence, we accept her change of the Sabbath to Sunday. We frankly say, yes, the Church made this change, made this law, as she made many other laws, for instance, the Friday abstinence, the unmarried priesthood, the laws concerning mixed marriages, the regulation of Catholic marriages and a thousand other laws. "It is always somewhat laughable, to see the Protestant churches, in pulpit and legislation, demand the observance of Sunday, of which there is nothing in their Bible.

*The first "Christian" Sunday Law states "Let all judges and all city people and all tradesmen rest upon the venerable day of the sun. But let those dwelling in the country freely and with full liberty attend to the culture of their fields; since it frequently happens that no other day is so fit for the sowing of grain, or the planting of vines; hence, the favorable time should not be allowed to pass, lest the provisions of heaven be lost." -- Edict of March 7, 321 A.D. Corpus Juris Civilis Cod., lib. 3, tit. 12, Lex. 3. Constantine (and Crispus) being consul (each for the second time). 321 A.D. "For several centuries, Christians observed Sunday simply as a day of worship, without being able to give it the specific meaning of Sabbath rest. Only in the fourth century did the civil law of the Roman Empire recognize the weekly recurrence, determining that on "the day of the sun" the judges, the people of the cities and the various trade corporations would not work"- Pope John Paul II-DIES DOMINI-Dies Hominis v.64, May 31, 1998


         *The Sabbath-keeping "Jews" in the early Roman Empire were treated poorly, as fools and superstitious second class citizens. They were unfairly taxed by their Roman 'masters' (Vespasian 69-79 AD, Domitian 81-96 AD, and Hadrian prior to his outlawing of Judaism in 135 AD). The Sabbath became to the Romans a disgraceful symbol of Judaism and they regarded it as superstitious folly. The Sabbath is ridiculed by all of the oppressors of G-D's people this is revealed to be true in Israel's history by Jeremiah in Lamentations 1:7 -Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths.


       Sh'mot (Exodus) 31:12-17----(12) Adonai said to Moshe, (13) "Tell the people of Isra'el, 'You are to observe my Shabbats; for this is a sign between me and you through all your generations; so that you will know that I am Adonai, who sets you apart for me. (14) Therefore you are to keep my Shabbat, because it is set apart for you.  Everyone who treats it as ordinary must be put to death; for whoever does any work on it is to be cut off from his people. (15) On six days work will get done; but the seventh day is Shabbat, for complete rest, set apart for Adonai.  Whoever does any work on the day of Shabbat must be put to death. (16) The people of Isra'el are to keep the Shabbat, to observe Shabbat through all their generations as a perpetual covenant. (17) It is a sign between me and the people of Isra'el forever; for in six days Adonai made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and rested.'"  

*Read here in Isaiah 56:2 -Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. (3) Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the L-RD, speak, saying, The L-RD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. (4) For thus saith the L-RD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; (5) Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. (6) Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the L-RD, to serve him, and to love the name of the L-RD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; (7) Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. (8) The L-rd G-D which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.


*Note:  Portions of this article were authored by Kenneth and Brian Hoeck. ( Truth on the web ministries)

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שׁבת   Shabbat

 שׁלרמ Shalom

According to Exodus 20:11 G-d made the heaven, earth, and sea in six days and rested on the seventh. But Genesis states that G-d FINISHED His work on the seventh day. So what was finished or created on the seventh day? According to Genesis Rabbah 10:9, what was created was tranquility, serenity, peace and rest.

Abraham Joshua Heschel calls SHABBAT a PALACE IN TIME. He states that Judaism is a RELIGION OF TIME and that the SABBATHS are our great cathedrals (Heschel, Abraham Joshua. 1951. The Sabbath. New York: The Noonday Press. 8, 21).

Each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet has a special meaning and a story to tell. Here a few brief ones about the letters on this painting.

SHIN is the 21st letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 300. SHIN means TOOTH, YEAR, REPEAT, TEACH. SHIN makes the sound SHHHHHH when the DOT is on the right, and SSSS when the DOT is on the left.

BEIT is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet and its numerical value is 2. The meanings of BEIT are HOUSE, HOME, CONTAINER. The BEIT makes a sound like the B in Beautiful.

The Torah begins with the letter BEIT. It was chosen for this honor because it is closed on top, bottom and on the right. It is open on the left, the direction of the text, to teach us to look forward and not backward, in our daily lives. (Genesis Rabbah. 1:10. TR. H. Freedman. New York: Soncino. 9).

The TAV is the 22nd letter in Hebrew alphabet - the last letter. It has a numerical value of 400. TAV means MARK, SIGN. In 1500 B.C.E. the TAV was written as an X. Perhaps this contributed to its meaning. TAV makes a sound like the T Tall. The TAV is composed of a DALET and a NUN.

LAMED is the 12th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 30. LAMED makes a sound like the L in Like. LAMED means both TO LEARN and TO TEACH. The LAMED is the tallest and most majestic of all the letters. Indeed Rashi interprets A TOWER FLYING IN THE AIR (Hagigah 15b) - as applying to the upper stroke of the LAMED.

The LAMED is generally considered to be constructed of a CAF (20) with a VAV (6). In this configuration the LAMED has a GEMATRIA of 26 - the same as that of the YUD (10) HEY (5) VAV (6) HEY (5) name of God. Since LAMED means LEARNING, it would seem that this would constitute a direct connection between LAMED, LEARNING and G-D.

VAV is the 6th letter and has a numerical value of 6. It means HOOK and makes a sound like the V in Victory. When used as a vowel, VAV can sound like a long `o' or a long `u.' Translated it means AND. It is the GREAT CONNECTOR. VAV appears in the Four Letter name of G-d.

MEM is the 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 40. MEM makes a sound like the M in Middle. But according to the ancient kabbalistic text SEPHER YETZIRAH, the MEM hummmmmms! MEM is usually associated with the word MAYIM - WATER or EEMAH - MOTHER.
The MEM is one of the 5 letters - CAF, MEM NUN, PEY, TSADE - that have 2 forms. One form is used in the beginning and the middle of a word - the open MEM . The other form is at the end of the word - the closed MEM. According to Talmud, the open MEM represents revealed teaching and the closed MEM represents concealed teaching



The Havdalah service marks the end of Shabbat. It is performed on Saturday night when three stars can be seen in the sky (normally about 45 minutes after sundown). 

Items needed: a glass of wine or other liquid, some fragrant spices, and a special Havdalah candle.


The first of the four Havdalah blessings is made over wine. Recite this blessing:

Barukh atah Adonai Elohaynu melekh ha-olam, borei p’riy ha-gafen. (Ah-main)
Blessed are You, Lord, our G-d, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. (Amen).


The second blessing is recited over fragrant spices. The spices represent a compensation for the loss of the special sabbath spirit. The spices commonly used are cloves, cinnamon or bay leaves. They are commonly kept in a special decorated holder called a b'samim box.

Barukh atah Adonai Elohaynu melekh ha-olam, borei minei b'samim. (Ah-main)
Blessed are You, Lord, our G-d, King of the Universe, who creates varieties of spices. (Amen)


The third blessing is recited over the special, multi-wicked Havdalah candle (see on-line store for candles). If you cannot obtain a Havdalah candle, you can hold two candles close together, so their flames overlap.  Party candles (long, very thin candles) can be warmed up and twisted together.

Lighting a flame is a vivid way of marking the distinction between the sabbath and the weekday, because we cannot kindle a flame on the sabbath.

After the blessing is recited, hold hands up to the flame with curved fingers, so you can see the shadow of your fingers on palms.

Barukh atah Adonai Elohaynu melekh ha-olam, borei m'orei ha-eish. (Ah-main)
Blessed are You, Lord, our G-d, King of the Universe, who creates the light of the fire. (Amen)


The final blessing is the havdalah blessing itself, the blessing over the separation of different things. The blessing is recited over the wine. After the blessing is complete, the wine is drunk. A few drops of wine are used to extinguish the flame from the candle.

Barukh atah Adonai Elohaynu melekh ha-olam, ha-mavdil bayn kodesh l'chol,
Blessed are You, Lord, our G-d, King of the Universe, who distinguishes between the sacred and the secular,

bayn or l'choshekh, bayn yisrael la-amim, bayn yom ha-sh'vi'i l'shayshet y'may ha-ma'aseh
between light and dark, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six days of labor

Barukh atah Adonai, ha-mavdil bayn kodesh l'chol. (Amein)
Blessed are You, Lord, who distinguishes between the sacred and the secular. (Ah-main)



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