Shabbat Observance

Since Creation, Shabbat and its lessons have constituted a primary theme in Scripture. It is the first mitzvah named in the Torah and, interestingly, it is the only ritual mitzvah Elohim is said to have observed (Genesis 2:1). At Sinai, the Shabbat is given as one of the ten fundamental commandments, a testament to its importance. Indeed, Shabbat can play a powerful role in the life of a believer but, unfortunately, this efficacy has been thrown to the wind by many believers, by those who claim that it has been abrogated or partially abrogated or by those who reduce it to an endless list of do’s and do-not’s. In doing this, the Shabbat and the plethora of advantages it carries are lost, bringing s


The first reference to the Shabbat takes place in Genesis 2:2-3: “And in the seventh day Elohim completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day form all His work which He had made. And Elohim blessed the seventh day and set it apart, because on it He rested from all His work, which Elohim in creating had made.” While Elohim clearly did not require a day to recover from fatigue, He did establish a day that would be “set apart” for mankind as a sort of spiritual creation after six days of physical creation. In this way, it was the absolute climax of the Creation!


Shabbat stages its second appearance in the Book of Exodus, after the Children of Yisrael exited Egypt yet still before the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Moshe explains to them the basics of Shabbat observance. Only when Elohim gives the Ten Words is the Shabbat explained definitively: “Remember the Shabbat day to set it apart. Six days you shall labor and shall do all your work, but the seventh day is a Shabbat of יהוה your Elohim. You do not do any work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger, who is within your gates. For in six days יהוה made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore יהוה blessed the Shabbat day and set it apart” (Exodus 20:8-11). Observance of Shabbat is a reminder of the Creation and especially of the Creator.

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