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The Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, is with one exception the most important Jewish holy day. It is actually defined in the Ten Commandments. The Sabbath is a holy day on which work is absolutely forbidden. Sabbath is thus characterised as a day of rest. The commandment of rest applies to all areas of life. Only those activities essential to maintain life are permitted.
The Sabbath is a joyous day celebrating the completion of God's creation, and no fasting or mourning are permitted. Three festive meals and dressing in one's best finery symbolise the festive mood, and prayer and studying the Torah help forget everyday cares.
The feast commences on Friday evening at dusk and ends on Saturday evening, when three stars appear in the heavens. The lighting of the Sabbath candles marks the beginning of the feast. Before the evening meal and the following meal on the Sabbath day, the master of the house declares a blessing over the wine (kiddush) and two loaves.
The third meal leads into the Sabbath evening. The Sabbath evening ends with the hadvalah, a blessing which marks the boundary between the sacred and the profane: it is spoken over a glass of wine, a plaited candle, and pleasantsmelling spices. The service in the synagogue follows a different sequence on the Sabbath from that on weekdays, and extracts are read from the Torah.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources