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[Heb.,=repose], in Judaism, last day of the week (Saturday), observed as a rest day for the twenty-five hours commencing with sundown on Friday. In the biblical account of creation (Gen. 1) the seventh day is set as a Sabbath to mark God's rest after his work. In Jewish law, starting with both versions of the Ten Commandments, the rules for the Sabbath are given in careful detail. The Sabbath is intended to be a day of spiritual refreshment and joy. Observant Jews wear special clothes, enjoy festive meals, and attend synagogue, where the weekly portion of the Pentateuch is read with an accompanying excerpt from the Prophets. In the home, the mistress of the house says a blessing and lights two candles in honor of the two biblical verses that enjoin Sabbath rest. Early Christians had a weekly celebration of the liturgy on the first day (Sunday), observing the Resurrection. Hence, among Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, Sunday is a liturgical feast; Protestants, applying the idea of the Jewish Sabbath to Sunday, forbade all but pious activity. The term "Lord's Day" was used, especially by Sabbatarians, to promote such observance (see blue lawsblue laws,
legislation regulating public and private conduct, especially laws relating to Sabbath observance. The term was originally applied to the 17th-century laws of the theocratic New Haven colony, and appears to originate in A General History of Connecticut
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). Some denominations (e.g., Seventh-Day BaptistsSeventh-Day Baptists,
Protestant church holding the same doctrines as other Calvinistic Baptists but observing the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath. In the Reformation in England the observance was adopted by many, and in the 17th cent.
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 and Seventh-Day AdventistsAdventists
[advent, Lat.,=coming], members of a group of related religious denominations whose distinctive doctrine centers in their belief concerning the imminent second coming of Jesus (see Judgment Day).
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) replace Sunday with Saturday. In Islam, Friday is the weekly day of public prayer.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:2-3)

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work.... For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth... but he rested on the seventh day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-10)

These verses from the Hebrew scriptures constitute the driving command for Shabbat, or Jewish Sabbath, the weekly day of rest that begins with sunset on Friday and continues through sunset on Saturday evening.

The Talmud (see Judaism, Development of) outlines the laws and statutes tradition has regulated, defining what "work" is, what is and is not allowed, and how the day is to be celebrated. The Friday night kiddush, the benediction offered over wine and bread, ushers in the holy day that begins the weekly commemoration of creation. It is such a strong tradition that there have been times, such as during the Maccabean revolt, that Jews refused to defend themselves rather than break Shabbat.

The day is not viewed as a burden, something one must keep, but rather as a joy—something one gets to observe. The celebration of "Queen" Shabbat has, over the years, developed into a ritual.

On Friday night there is a blessing over candles, generally said or sung by the woman of the house, just before sunset. There is usually public worship at the synagogue. Evening and morning, after synagogue worship, a kiddush, or prayer of blessing, is spoken.

Three special meals are observed—the first on Friday evening, the second at noon on Saturday, and the third later in the afternoon. The Zemirot, one of many liturgical hymns, is often sung during these meals.

Shabbat is a time for study and reflection, usually of a section of Torah.

The day is concluded with the Havdalah ceremony, a separation ritual, on Saturday night.

Not all Jews hold to this strict observance, of course. Many families have developed their own traditions. But what has become known as the spirit of the Sabbath is very important. Even if traditional observances are not followed, a time of rest, refreshment, and remembrance is still observed even by many nonreligious Jews. Because the rest of the world does not recognize Saturday as a day of rest, many Jews— shopkeepers, for instance, or those who work at jobs requiring their presence on Saturdays—have had to make compromises.

In addition to the weekly Sabbaths, there are also anniversary Sabbaths held throughout the year, with yearly Sabbaths held every seventh year. Traditionally these were years set apart to let the land enjoy a Sabbath rest, to be replenished by lying fallow for a season.

There is a widely held belief that Sunday became a Christian Sabbath, a change in the day of rest. But Sunday is never referred to in the Bible by the name Sabbath. It was called the Lord's Day by early Christians, referring to the fact that Jesus was said to have risen on Sunday. It rapidly became a day of worship. But Shabbat continued to be a Jewish observance, and the early church never intended to supersede it.


the seventh day of the week, prescribed as a day of rest and worship. [Judaism: Brewer Dictionary, 788]


1. the seventh day of the week, Saturday, devoted to worship and rest from work in Judaism and in certain Christian Churches
2. Sunday, observed by Christians as the day of worship and rest from work in commemoration of Christ's Resurrection
3. a period of rest
4. a midnight meeting or secret rendezvous for practitioners of witchcraft, sorcery, or devil worship
References in periodicals archive ?
"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy" (Exodus 20:8; New International Version).
The prohibition of work on the Sabbath day as enjoined by the fourth of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8) has implications given both that the Internet operates simultaneously across time zones and that the Sabbath--the period commencing at sunset on Friday and continuing for 24 hours to Saturday eve--falls at different times in different parts of the globe.
"These men are ignorant of Sabbath Day violations," said Akimoto, very much concerned.
In Shemot (Exodus 20:8): "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy" "Zakhor et Yom HaShabbat le'kadsho," the first word is "zakho" whereas in Devarim, (Deuteronomy 5:12), the first word is "shamor" (observe or guard) the Sabbath to keep it holy.
It would seem that there is a misapprehension that we only work on the Sabbath Day. This would seem to be at variance with the fourth Commandment, which tells us to "Remember to keep holy the Sabbath Day."
I'm still not entirely at ease with working on the sabbath day of rest.
Rome's Jewish community, some of whom were forced to leave Libya 40 years ago, are angry over Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's apparent willingness to meet them only on Saturday, the Sabbath day sacred to Jews.
And they were not to gather manna on the Sabbath day itself, making this manna story one of the first illustrations in all scripture of the meaning of Sabbath.
When the Roman emperor Constantine proclaimed Sunday a public holiday in AD 321, Christians faced a question that was debated for the next 2,000 years: Should they observe it in Sabbatarian fashion, as the Jews did their holy day, in keeping with the Fourth Commandment: "Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy"?
The Constitution states that Sunday, the Sabbath day, is to be "kept holy" and that no business can be conducted, "except according to law." Although an exception is made for hotels and resorts that are part of the tourism industry, the Sabbath day business prohibition is enforced strictly for all other businesses, regardless of a business owner's religion.
Very highly recommended reading, especially for seminary and theology students, Sabbath Presence: Appreciating The Gifts Of Each Day by Kathleen Casey is an informative and "reader friendly" approach to understanding the Sabbath Day and how it may best be integrated into the everyday daily lives of Catholic laity and clergy.