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A Shabbat table, Laid for the start of SHabbat


Be Blessed in Both Worlds. 

The punishment for violating Shabbat is extremely severe.

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What is Shabbat?

Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest and celebration that begins on Friday before sunset and ends on the following evening after nightfall. It is ushered in with (late afternoon) candlelighting, prayers, and feasting on bread and other delicacies. And its end is marked with a multisensory ceremony as well.

Shabbat is the centerpiece of Jewish life and has been so since the infancy of our nation. According to the Talmud, Shabbat is equal to all the other commandments, and the term shomer shabbat (“Shabbat observer”) is synonymous with “religious Jew” in common parlance.

What is Shabbat?
Why Is Shabbat Special

Why is Shabbat Special?

To answer this, we will quote the great Sage Harav Shimshon Refael Hirsch.

Of all the precious treasures that Judaism has bestowed on the Jew, none can compare to the wealth of blessing and satisfaction inherent in observing the age-old institution of Shabbat. Take Shabbat from the Jew, and you have robbed him of his most prized possession; a king's ransom will not compensate for the loss.

When Shabbat is taken from a Jew, he is bereft of peace of mind and lacking true joy of life. He will feel alone even when surrounded by friends and acquaintances. Even if he were treated to celebration after celebration, it would all be for naught. He will never find a companion as faithful as the Shabbat. All other pleasures pale in comparison to the joy of the simple, modest, pleasant and sacred Shabbat.

Shabbat is a Jew's dearest companion; it is his treasure. God joined the Jewish nation intimately with the Shabbat, as if they are wed to one another; He brought Shabbat to His people as a father brings his bejewelled daughter to her wedding canopy. So long as the Jew remains faithful to her with all his heart and soul, she will remain faithful to him, smiling on him and crowning him with her abundant blessings.

She will convert his home, humble as it may be, into a veritable Eden, a garden of God. She will illuminate the darkest night with the brightness of day, and she will direct his steps, never allowing him to stumble. She will wipe the tears from his face and raise him above all sorrow. She will bring wealth to the pauper and will grant the wealthy man joy in the fruits of his labours. She will enlighten the fool and sharpen the wits of the wise. She will lend strength to the weak and fortify the power of the mighty

(Yalkut Yosef English Edition Shabbat Vol.1)

Where does Shabbat come from?

In the book of Bereshit, the of creation unfolds across six days, concluding with G‑d taking a day of rest. Within this pause, there lies a beautiful idea—menuchah, or rest—a vital ingredient for sustained creativity and spiritual fulfillment.

Following the Exodus from Egypt in 2448, G‑d shared the profound wisdom of Shabbat with the Children of Israel. This special day, etched as one of the Ten Commandments, signifies that each seventh day shall be a day of rest. Shabbat tells the story of G‑d's creation and His intervention in freeing His people from slavery, marking its enduring importance in Jewish lives.

During their desert journey of 40 years, the Israelites received manna, a miraculous sustenance, daily—except on Shabbat. Yet, no one went hungry, as extra portions would arrive on Fridays, ensuring an abundance for the sacred day of rest.


Shabbat stands not just as a tradition but as an invitation—to pause, reflect, and find harmony between toil and repose. Observing Shabbat honours the story of creation and nurtures a deep, spiritual connection with the Divine and within ourselves.

Where does Shabbat come from

Shabbat as a Queen

In the profound teachings of our sages, Shabbat transcends being solely a holy time; it's revered as a personified entity—a queen whose majestic presence blesses every Jewish home throughout the sacred day. This belief inspires us to prepare meticulously, adorning ourselves in our best attire, purifying our bodies, and ensuring our homes radiate their utmost splendour come Friday afternoon. The Talmud goes further, affirming that each Shabbat gifts us with an additional, unique soul.

The notion of Shabbat as a "queen" symbolizes a union, a sacred matrimony between the Children of Israel and this hallowed day. As we welcome Shabbat, it's not just a period of rest; it's an intimate, regal encounter that calls for our utmost reverence and preparation.

This understanding elevates the significance of Shabbat, encouraging a deeper appreciation for its essence. It's not merely a cessation of labour, but an invitation to embrace a divine presence—a majestic, cherished guest gracing our homes and lives each week.

This concept encourages a mindful approach to Shabbat observance, cultivating an atmosphere of sanctity and honour befitting the esteemed "queen" who blesses our homes with her presence.

Shabbat Queen

How do We do Shabbat

Orthodox Jews observe Shabbat in a deeply traditional and ritualistic manner, adhering to stringent guidelines outlined in Jewish law. Here's an overview:

1. Preparation: Before sunset on Friday, meticulous preparations are made. Homes are cleaned, festive meals are prepared in advance, and all work ceases by candle-lighting time.

2. Candle Lighting: Women typically light candles, symbolizing the onset of Shabbat's sanctity. A blessing is recited, welcoming the peaceful atmosphere of the day.

3. Evening Prayers: Synagogue attendance for evening prayers, often accompanied by the recitation of psalms and songs welcoming Shabbat.

4. Kiddush: A blessing over wine or grape juice marks the beginning of the festive meal on Friday night. Two loaves of challah bread are blessed and eaten.

5.Family Dinner: Families gather for a special meal—usually including traditional dishes—ushering in Shabbat's joyous spirit with singing, discussion, and blessings over children.

6. Saturday (Shabbat Day) Services: Attendance at synagogue for morning prayers, followed by a communal kiddush where bread and wine/ grape juice are shared.

7. Study and Rest: After the morning services, time is devoted to Torah study, often including discussions on religious texts and teachings. Activities that involve creative work or using electronics are avoided.

8. Afternoon and Evening: Additional prayers are recited in the afternoon. As the sun sets on Saturday, a beautiful ceremony called Havdalah marks the end of Shabbat with blessings over wine, spices, and a braided candle.

Throughout Shabbat, Orthodox Jews refrain from activities considered work in Jewish law, such as cooking, using electronic devices, writing, or driving. The focus is on rest, prayer, family time, and spiritual enrichment.

How do we do Shabbat

39 Melachot

Check out this video of the 39 Melachot to find out more.

The 39 melachot refer to the categories of work activities that are prohibited on Shabbat according to Jewish law. These activities are derived from the tasks performed in constructing the Tabernacle, as outlined in the Torah. Each melacha (singular of melachot) encompasses various related actions.

The 39 melachot include actions such as sowing, plowing, reaping, cooking, baking, sewing, writing, kindling a fire, and more. The prohibition against these melachot on Shabbat aims to ensure a cessation of creative or labor-intensive activities, allowing individuals to rest and focus on spiritual pursuits.

These prohibitions are quite detailed and can be broad in their application, guiding Orthodox Jews in refraining from engaging in activities that involve creative work or transformation of materials. Understanding these melachot helps individuals observe Shabbat in accordance with Jewish law, fostering an environment of rest, reflection, and spiritual connection on this sacred day.

39 Melachot
The Reward for Keeping SHabbat


“Whoever observes the Shabbat and honors it by indulging in pleasures, to the best of his ability, will receive an abundant reward in this world, in addition to the reward set aside for him/her in The World To Come”

(RAMBAM Hilchot Shabbat 30:15)

The Reward

"Whoever fulfills the mitzvah of eating three meals on Shabbat, is saved from three evils; the birth pangs of the Mashiach, the retribution of Gehinnom, and the war of Gog and Magog" (Shabbat 118a).

"Whoever takes delight in Shabbat is given a heritage without limits" (ibid.).

"Whoever takes delight in Shabbat will be granted all his heart's desires" (Shabbat

Does a Jew have to keep it?

“HASHEM said to Moses, saying ‘Now you, speak to the Children of Israel, saying: However, you must observe my Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you for your generations, to know that I am HASHEM, Who makes you holy.


You shall observe the Sabbath, for it is holy to you; its desecrators shall receive death upon death, for whoever does work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among its people. For six days work may be done and the seventh day is a day of complete rest, it is sacred to HASHEM; whoever does work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.’” (Exodus 31:12-15)

From this verse (and 11 others in the Torah) we learn that the punishment for violating Shabbat is extremely severe: death upon death, meaning death in this world and being cut off from the World to Come (Olam Haba).

Does a Jew have to keep Shabbat

Shabbat: The Price of Eternity

For more on this, see our film below.

Shabbat : The Price Of Eternity

Now What

Shabbat has guarded the Jewish people for thousands of years. Showering its blessing upon them. Learn with Rabbi Yaron Reuvenhow to discover the secret of Shabbat and bring that protection and Blessing to your Life.

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