- What is the Sabbath? What does it commemorate? When does it begin and end?
The Sabbath is a day of rest that commemorates that day in the book of Genesis when God stopped creating the world because he thought it was already complete. It normally begins at sunset on Friday, ending at nightfall on a Saturday (Sabbath Day). Those who practice the Sabbath day also refrain from doing any creative activities and instead devote the day to prayer and other religious related matters.
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- What is the role of food on the Sabbath? How are food and its preparation connected to religious life? Give specific examples from the text to support your answer.
Food and the dining table play an important role on the Sabbath. The dining table signifies the altar of God while the food offered is considered victuals for the less fortunate. The food preparation for Sabbath indicates that all food preparation must be done the day before Sabbath and free of all leaven. According to the textbook, this activity is based on Exodus 12:19 which states that “no leaven shall be found in your houses.” and that the grain should not have been in contact with water for more than 18 minutes. Again, according to the text, the food prepared is cooked on Passover cookware that is sure to be leaven free and the bread is bought from bakeries that prepare the bread within 9 minutes instead of 18.
- What kinds of activities are prohibited in the Sabbath? How do participants understand and explain this? How, for example, do they relate it to Scripture and events of Jewish history? Give specific examples from the text to support your answer.
Since Sabbath is the day when God took rest from creating the earth, no creative activities are allowed during this day. There are 39 prohibited activities on Sabbath including preparation and cooking of food, any activities that require leaving your home and lighting a fire. It is also forbidden to have others carry out work-related activities on this day. This is explained by the Jews by referring to the bible wherein a 25 hour rest period is indicated for Sabbath to keep the Sabbath as a holy activity. The Jews often say that “No man is the master of any Jew on Sabbath.”
- Based on your careful reading of this selection, what are the religious obligations of women on the Sabbath? What are the religious obligations of men?
The religious duties of women during the Sabbath include reciting the Kiddush (Prayer over the wine) since all Jews are required to observe Sabbath regardless of gender. The religious duties of men on the Sabbath day include not only a day of rest from work, but also all the required prayers, eating of 3 festive meals, reading of the Torah, and the recitation of the Havdala after Sabbath at nightfall.