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Sabbath

SABBATH

SABBATH (Heb. שַׁבָּת; Shabbat; related to the verb shavat, "cease, desist, rest"), the seventh day of the week, the day of rest and abstention from work.

In the Bible

The etiology of the Sabbath is given in Genesis 1:1–2:3, although the name of the day does not appear there: God worked six days at creating the world; on the seventh he ceased working (shavat mi-kol melaʾkhto), blessed the day, and declared it holy (see 2:1–3). The special status of the seventh day and its name were disclosed to Israel in the episode of the manna. God supplied each day's need of manna for five days; on the sixth, a double portion was provided to last through the seventh day, on which no manna appeared. Correspondingly, the Israelites were commanded to go out, collect, and prepare each day's portion for the first five days; on the sixth, they were to prepare for two days; on the seventh they were not to go out at all but were to remain at home. Thus they learned that the seventh day was "a Sabbath of the Lord," which they must honor by desisting from their daily food-gathering labor (Ex. 16:22). The fourth "word" of the *Decalogue generalizes the lesson of the manna. All work (melaʾkhah) is banned on the Sabbath, which here for the first time is given a rationale, drawn directly from the formulation of Genesis 2:1–3 and expressly identifying the Sabbath with the seventh day of creation (Ex. 20:8–11). The meaning of the "blessedness" and "sanctity" of the day is inferrable from the manna experience.

According to Exodus 23:12 and 34:21, work is to cease on the seventh day in order to give slaves and draft animals rest; this must be observed even during the critical seasons of plowing and harvest. Deuteronomy's version of the Decalogue embodies this humanitarian motive in its divergent rationale of the Sabbath rest; Israel is to keep the Sabbath so that its slaves might rest, and because God, who liberated it from Egyptian bondage, so commanded (Deut. 5:14–15). God's instructions concerning the building of the Tabernacle end, and Moses' conveyance of them to the people begins, with an admonition to keep the Sabbath, indicating its precedence even over the duty of building the Sanctuary. The Sabbath is called a sign both of God's consecration of Israel, and of His six-day creation. The rulings are applied in the exemplary tale of Numbers 15:32ff. A man was found collecting wood (to make a fire) on the Sabbath. Apprehended by witnesses and brought before Moses, he was sentenced to death by stoning at the hands of the whole community. Besides the daily sacrificial offering, an additional one, amounting to the total offering of a weekday, was prescribed for the Sabbath (Num. 28:9–10; cf. Num. 28:3–8). Admonitions to observe the Sabbath are coupled once with reverence toward parents (Lev. 19:3; cf. the juxtaposition in the Decalogue), and twice with reverence toward the Sanctuary (Lev. 19:30; 26:2). As a time marker, the Sabbath terminated the week. Thus in the Tabernacle cult, the weekly replacement of shewbread occurred on the Sabbath (Lev. 24:8; i Chron. 9:32).

Only scraps of evidence are available concerning the nature of the Sabbath during the monarchy. In the Northern Kingdom during the ninth and eighth centuries, Sabbath and New Moon are mentioned together as days when business activity was halted (Amos 8:5), and people paid visits to men of God (ii Kings 4:23). From Hosea 2:13 it appears that the Sabbath, like the New Moon and the festival mentioned before it, was among "all the joys" of the North that were under God's doom; this is a precious attestation of the joyous character of the day. In eighth-century Judah, too, Sabbath and New Moon were popularly celebrated in sacred convocations held in the Jerusalem Temple (Isa. 1:13; cf. Lam. 2:6 for later times). Again, as a time marker, the Sabbath was the day on which the palace guard was changed weekly (ii Kings 11:5–9). Esteem of the Sabbath rose just before, during, and after the Exile. Jeremiah 17:19–27 berates the rulers and populace of Judah for condoning the hauling of burdens (market wares) into and within Jerusalem on the Sabbath. In an unprecedented prophecy, the fate of the dynasty and the city is made to depend upon the observance of the Sabbath. Ezekiel contains similar prophecies. Chapter 20:12ff. lays stress on the Sabbath as a sign of Israel's consecration to God; its significance is shown by juxtaposition with all the rest of the divine laws, the Sabbath alone being singled out by name. In catalogs of sins for which Jerusalem was doomed, desecration of the Sabbath occurs repeatedly. As part of his program for a reconstituted Israel, the prophet innovates the priestly duty of seeing that the Sabbath is kept holy (44:24). Noteworthy too is the increase in the number of animals prescribed for the Sabbath sacrifice from double that of the weekday to the befitting number seven (Ezek. 46:4). The Exilic "Isaiah" also singles out the observance of the Sabbath, juxtaposing it to all the rest of the covenant obligations as the precondition of individual and national restoration (56:2, 4, 6; 58:13: "If you call the Sabbath a delight/That which the Lord has sanctified – a day to be honored"). This prophet looks to an eventual universalization of the Sabbath among all nations (66: 23).

The prophets' estimate of the fateful importance of Sabbath observance was taken to heart in the fifth-century community of restored Jerusalem. The public confession of Nehemiah 9:14 once again singles out the Sabbath from all the "commandments, laws, and teachings" given to Israel through Moses. A special clause in the covenant subscribed to by the community's representatives forbids commerce with outsiders on Sabbaths and holy days (Neh. 10:32). Nehemiah enforced this clause rigorously as governor of Judah, reminding the indifferent aristocrats that for desecrating the Sabbath their ancestors had been visited with catastrophe (13:15–22).

historical and literary-historical considerations

Evidence that in the period of the monarchy the Sabbath was a popular, joyous holy day, marked by cessation of business and celebrated publicly and by the individual, in the Sanctuary and outside it, accords with the pentateuchal traditions that it was among the chief stipulations of the Mosaic covenant. The antiquity and interrelation of the various rationales given in the Pentateuch for the Sabbath are, however, problematic. Such rationales appear in both versions of the Decalogue. That of Exodus, associating the Sabbath with the Creation, is theocentric and sacramental. The sanctity of the day is grounded in an event in the life of God – His cessation from work, His rest, His blessing and consecration. Israel's observance of the day is imitative and out of respect for God's authority. The revelation of the day's sanctity exclusively to Israel – with the attendant obligation to keep it – is a sign of Israel's consecration to God. This rationale is worked out in the creation story, the Exodus Decalogue, and the two admonitions connected with the building of the Tabernacle. Critical analysis assigns all these passages to the Priestly Source (p); their interrelation is, in any event, beyond dispute. The Deuteronomic version of the Decalogue grounds the Sabbath, ambiguously, on the liberation of Israel from slavery. On the one hand, the humane concern of Exodus 23 over the welfare of slaves is involved, on the other, the authority of God to give such laws by virtue of His having redeemed Israel. Since none of these rationales is reflected in the meager extra-pentateuchal passages on the Sabbath, speculation on their age and interrelationship can be based only on internal evidence. Even if conceptual or literary development can be shown, absolute dating is impossible – all the more so when it is borne in mind that presently interrelated ideas may have arisen independently and contemporaneously, and in either case, before their literary embodiment. The compassionate ground of Exodus 23:12 is conceptually simpler than the historical-humanistic one of Deuteronomy. On the other hand, Deuteronomy's is tangential to the essence of the Sabbath day – its holiness. That is accounted for only by the cosmic-sacramental rationale associated with the Exodus Decalogue. But if the rationale in Exodus is the best developed, it is not necessarily the latest. Deuteronomy's seems to have been substituted for it, as more in accord with the spirit of that work, in its version of the Sabbath commandment. Critics consider the sacramental (probably priestly) rationale an Exilic conception, since its esteem of the Sabbath as a sign of Israel's consecration agrees with the Exilic views of the importance of the day. But is a historical explanation really needed for the priestly esteem of a holy day whose centrality in Israel's life is vouched for by its inclusion in the Decalogue – the only holy day so honored? Distinctively Exilic is the appreciation of the Sabbath as a decisive factor in national destiny, and that is lacking in the priestly material as elsewhere in the Pentateuch. Warnings of doom for violation of the covenant laws single out idolatry (Ex. 23:24; Deut. 4:25ff.) as the fatal national sin; Leviticus 26:34–35, 43 – of priestly provenance – adds neglect of the Sabbatical (fallow) Year to the causes of national doom. But violation of the Sabbath day is nowhere held to be a factor in Israel's downfall, nor is its observance a warrant of national well-being – as in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Exilic Isaiah, and Nehemiah. This suggests that the age of Jeremiah is the terminus ad quem of the pentateuchal material on the Sabbath. The increased regard for the Sabbath from Jeremiah's time on is to be connected with the danger of assimilation to the gentiles that loomed since the reign of Manasseh (cf. Zeph. 1), and greatly troubled the religious leaders of the Exile (Ezek. 20:32ff). With the Temple destroyed and the Jews dispersed, the distinctively Israelite day of rest, which allowed for public and private expression and which was not essentially bound up with a sacrificial cult, became a chief vehicle of identification with the covenant community. To mark oneself off from the gentiles by observing the peculiar, weekly "sign" of God's consecration of Israel was an act of loyalty which might well be counted the equivalent of the rest of the covenant commandments, while disregard of the Sabbath might well be considered as serious a breach of faith with the God of Israel as the worship of alien gods. Such in fact was the view of Exilic and post-Exilic thinkers who put forward the idea that the breaking of the Sabbath was a cause of the nation's collapse.

Speculation on the origin of the Sabbath has centered on the apparent Babylonian cognate, šapattu, the mid-month day of the full moon, called "the day of calming [the god's] heart" – apparently an auspicious day. The biblical combination of "New Moon and Sabbath" has been thought, accordingly, to reflect what were originally two holy days, one at the start, the other in the middle of the month. Another partial analogy to the Sabbath has been found in the "evil days" of the Babylonian month (mostly at seven-day intervals) on which the king's activity was severely restricted. How the šapattu might have been combined with the entirely distinct "evil days," become dissociated from the lunar cycle, and finally emerge as the joyous, weekly "Sabbath of the Lord" has not been persuasively explained. Nonetheless an ultimate connection between the biblical and the Babylonian phenomena seems likely. If so, the history of the Sabbath began with a radical severance from the past. The particularity of the biblical day was its positive sanctity – so that abstention from work on it expressed piety, and that sanctity was a divine ordinance – not a matter of lucky and unlucky times. It was perhaps first grounded on God's compassion toward workers, later brought into relation with the Creation, and later still with the Exodus.

[Michael J. Graetz]

In the Apocrypha

According to the Book of Maccabees, the Sabbath was at one time observed so strictly that on one occasion during the Maccabean revolt, the Jews allowed themselves to be killed rather than resist on the Sabbath (i Macc. 2:31–38). Later, it was decided that the Sabbath may be transgressed in order to save life (i Macc. 2:40–41). The Book of Jubilees (2:17–32 and 50:6–13) is extremely severe on Sabbath desecration, death being the penalty even for such offenses as walking any distance, fasts, or traveling on a ship on the Sabbath. The Book of Jubilees (50:8) also forbids marital relations on the Sabbath, whereas in the rabbinic teaching it is considered meritorious to perform these on the Sabbath (bk 82a, Ket. 62b).

In Rabbinic Literature

The rabbis wax eloquent on the value of Sabbath observance. "If Israel keeps one Sabbath as it should be kept, the Messiah will come. The Sabbath is equal to all the other precepts of the Torah" (Ex. R. 25:12). "God said to Moses: 'Moses, I have a precious gift in My treasury whose name is the Sabbath and I want to give it to Israel. Go and tell them'" (Beẓah 16a). "The Sabbath is one sixtieth of the world to come" (Ber. 57b). "The Sabbath increases Israel's holiness. 'Why does so-and-so close his shop?' 'Because he keeps the Sabbath.' 'Why does so-andso refrain from work?' 'Because he keeps the Sabbath.' Furthermore, whoever keeps the Sabbath testifies of Him at whose word the world came into being; that He created the world in six days and rested on the seventh" (Mekh. Sb-Y to Ex. 31:14). The juxtaposition of the instructions to build the Sanctuary and the prohibition of Sabbath work caused the rabbis to deduce that it was forbidden on the Sabbath to do any work that was required for the Sanctuary. The rabbinic definition of forbidden Sabbath work is, therefore, that which was needed for the Sanctuary (Mekh. Sb-Y. to Ex. 35:1; Shab. 49b). Any work analogous to those types used for the building of the Sanctuary is classified as being biblically forbidden. There are thus 39 main classes of work ("fathers of work," avot) used in the building of the Sanctuary, and many others derived from these ("offspring," toledot), with only slight technical differences between "father" and "offspring" (bk 2a). Watering of plants, for instance, is a toledah of sowing; weeding, of plowing; adding oil to a burning lamp, of lighting a fire. The Mishnah (Shab. 7:2) gives a list of the 39 main classes of work. (It has been noted that the number 39 is a standard number in rabbinic literature and that these types of work are all of a kind obtaining in the rabbinic period.) The Mishnah (Ḥag. 1:8) also states that the laws of forbidden work on the Sabbath are as mountains hanging by a hair, for there is little on the subject in the Scriptures yet the rules are many. In addition to the biblical prohibitions, there are various rabbinic prohibitions introduced as a "fence to the Torah" (Avot 1:1), such as the handling of tools or money (mukẓeh), riding a horse, instructing a gentile to do work. These rabbinic prohibitions are known as shevut ("rest"; Beẓah 5:2). One who profanes the Sabbath in public is treated as an idolator (Ḥul. 5a). Conversely, whoever observes the Sabbath as it should be, is forgiven his sins, even if he practiced idolatry (Shab. 118b).

The Sabbath is a festive day and three meals should be eaten on it (Shab. 118a). It was considered meritorious for a man to make some preparations for the Sabbath himself, even if he had servants to do it for him (Kid. 41a). R. Safra used to singe the head of an animal, R. Huna used to light the lamp, R. Papa to plait the wicks, R. Ḥisda to cut up the beets, Rabbah and R. Joseph to chop the wood, R. Zera to kindle the fire (Shab. 119a). R. Ḥanina would say on the eve of the Sabbath: "Come let us go out to meet the Bride, the Queen." R. Yannai used to adorn himself and say: "Come O Bride, come O Bride" (ibid., bk 32a–b). Out of respect for the sacred day, it was forbidden to fast on the eve of the Sabbath (Ta'an. 27b). In a well-known passage (Shab. 119b), it is said that on the eve of the Sabbath two ministering angels accompany a man from the synagogue to his home. If, when he arrives home, he finds the lamp burning, the table laid, and the couch covered with a spread, the good angel declares, "May it be thus on another Sabbath too" and the evil angel is obliged to answer "Amen." But if not, the evil angel declares, "May it be thus on another Sabbath too" and the good angel is obliged to answer "Amen." At the beginning of the Sabbath, the special sanctification (*Kiddush) is recited (Pes. 106a), and after the termination of the Sabbath the *Havdalah ("distinction") benediction (which signifies the separation of the Sabbath from the weekday) is recited (Ber. 33a), both over a cup of wine. A man should wear special garments in honor of the Sabbath; he should walk differently from the way he does on a weekday, and even his speech should be different (Shab. 11a–b).

In Jewish Thought

From an early period, the Sabbath became a day of spiritual refreshment. Philo (ii Mos. 216) and Josephus (Apion, 2:175) refer to the practice of public discourses on the Torah on this day, as do the rabbis (Yal., Ex. 108). Philo (Decal. 96) sees the Sabbath as an opportunity for man to imitate his Creator who rested on the seventh day. Man, too, should rest from his weekday labors in order to devote himself to contemplation and to the improvement of his character. The Midrash (Mekh. Sb-Y to 20:11) similarly states that if God, who exerts no effort, "writes about Himself " that he rested, how much more should man rest of whom it is said that he was born to toil. The benediction for the Sabbath afternoon service sums up the rabbinic attitude to the Sabbath as a precious gift from God, and as a sacred day kept even by the Patriarchs: "Thou art One and Thy Name is One, and who is like Thy people a unique nation upon the earth? Glorious greatness and a crown of salvation, even the day of rest and holiness, Thou hast given unto Thy people – Abraham was glad, Isaac rejoiced, Jacob and his sons rested thereon – a rest granted in love, a true and faithful rest, a rest in peace and tranquility, in quietude and safety, a perfect rest wherein Thou delightest. Let Thy children perceive and know that this their rest is from Thee, and by their rest may they hallow Thy Name."

The medieval Jewish philosophers tend to dwell on the symbolic nature of the day. For Maimonides (Guide, 2, 31), the Sabbath has a twofold significance: It teaches the true opinion that God created the world, and it provides man with physical rest and refreshment. According to Isaac Arama (Akedat Yiẓḥak, 55 ed. Bialystok (1849), 285–89), the Sabbath teaches the three fundamental principles of Judaism: belief in creatio ex nihilo, in revelation (because the Sabbath is a time when the Torah is studied), and in the world to come (of which the Sabbath is a foretaste). *Judah Halevi looks upon the Sabbath as a God-given opportunity for men to enjoy complete rest of body and soul for a sixth part of their lives, in a way denied even to kings, who know nothing of this precious boon of complete cessation from toil and distraction (Kuzari, 3, 10).

Samson Raphael *Hirsch (Horeb, section 2:21; tr. by I. Grunfeld, 1 (1962), 61–78) understands the prohibition of creative activity on the Sabbath (the types of forbidden work do not so much involve effort, as they are creative) to be a lesson for man to acknowledge his Creator as Creator of everything there is. Man is allowed to rule over the world for six days by God's will, but is forbidden on the seventh day to fashion anything for his own purpose. On each Sabbath man restores the world to God, as it were, and thus proclaims that he enjoys only a borrowed authority.

The Laws and Customs of the Sabbath

The mistress of the house kindles at least two candles before the advent of the Sabbath, one corresponding to "remember the Sabbath day" (Ex. 20:8), the other to "observe the Sabbath day" (Deut. 5:12). For each meal two whole loaves of bread are placed on the table, covered by a cloth, to correspond to the double portion of manna for the Sabbath (Ex. 16:22–26). Before the Kiddush is recited, the parents bless the children. During the festive meals of the day, special table hymns (*zemirot) are chanted. Whenever possible, guests should be invited to participate in the Sabbath meals. There is a special order of service for Sabbath in the synagogue. Psalms are recited before the evening service on Friday night, and the morning service includes the weekly readings from the Torah, as well as a Musaf Amidah. The afternoon service also includes a Torah reading from the portion to be read on the following Sabbath. When the Sabbath is over, the Havdalah benediction is recited, together with a benediction over spices (to restore the soul saddened by the departure of the day), and over light (which could neither be lit nor blessed on the Sabbath). Where there is danger to life (*pikku'aḥ nefesh), the Sabbath must be set aside and Sabbath profanation in such circumstances is meritorious in the extreme. Unlike the *Karaites, who took the verse "let no man go out of his place on the seventh day" (Ex. 16:29) literally, the rabbis placed no restrictions on freedom of movement within one's town, but they prohibited any walking outside the town beyond a distance of 2,000 cubits (a little more than half a mile). This boundary is known as the teḥum shabbat (Sabbath limit). It is, however, permitted to place, before the Sabbath, sufficient food for two meals at the limits of the 2,000 cubits; then, by a legal fiction known as *eruv, this place becomes one's "abode" for the duration of the Sabbath, so that the 2,000 cubits may then be walked from there. It is forbidden to instruct a non-Jew to do any work on the Sabbath which is not permitted to a Jew, unless it is for the sake of health. In cold climes, the heating of the home by a non-Jew falls under the heading "for the sake of health."

Modern inventions have produced a host of new questions regarding Sabbath observance. Orthodox Judaism forbids travel by automobile on the Sabbath, Reform Judaism permits it. Conservative Judaism has differing views on this question, but generally permits travel by automobile on the Sabbath solely for the purpose of attending synagogue. The basic legal question regarding the switching on of electric lights is whether the noncombustive type of burning produced by electricity falls under the prohibition of making a fire or any of the other prohibitions listed above. Orthodox Jews refrain from the use of electrical appliances on the Sabbath, with the exception of the refrigerator, which may be opened and closed on the grounds that any electrical current produced in the process is incidental and without express intention. It has, however, become the practice for observant Jews to use electrical appliances on the Sabbath which are operated by time switches set before the Sabbath. In Israel, on religious kibbutzim, the same procedure is used to milk the cows on the Sabbath. Israel also has local bylaws forbidding certain activities on the Sabbath. There is, however, no comprehensive law covering the whole country. Thus, whereas public transportation does not operate on the Sabbath in Jerusalem and in Tel Aviv, it does in Haifa. Except for specifically non-Jewish sections of the country, the Sabbath is the official day of rest on which all business and stores must close, but there is some doubt as to what is a business for this law (see *Israel, State of: Religious Life).

[Louis Jacobs]

In Kabbalah

The seven days of the week, reflections of the seven primeval days of creation, symbolize in Kabbalah the seven lower Sefirot, from Ḥesed to Malkhut, which are known as the Sefirot ha-Binyan because of their part in "building" creation. According to the kabbalists, the Torah hints at the existence of the two Sabbaths in the system of the Sefirot when it says "Ye shall keep My Sabbaths" (Lev. 19:30). Even in the kabbalistic literature, which was influenced by the Zohar to a slight degree or not at all, and which generally avoids stressing erotic elements in divinity, the Sabbath was interpreted as the element of union in the system of the Sefirot. Interpreting "And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed [va-yekaddesh] it" (Gen. 2:3), these kabbalists linked va-yekaddesh with kiddushin ("betrothal") since the "atarah [Malkhut] is betrothed to Tiferet" (Ma'arekhet ha-Elohut (Mantua, 1558), 185a). In the same way they interpreted the Sabbath eve prayer: "You hallowed [kiddashta] the seventh day" as meaning "you betrothed the seventh day, which is the basis to the atarah" (ibid.).

Inverting the story in Genesis Rabbah 11:8, in which the Sabbath complains to God: "You gave a mate to everyone, while I have none," and was given *Keneset Yisrael as her mate, the kabbalists regarded Keneset Yisrael as the symbol of the Sefirah Malkhut, as the feminine mate of the Sabbath, which is the masculine principle in divinity (Yesod or Tiferet). Since according to the kabbalists the souls are the outcome of the union in the system of Sefirot, the idea of the holy union which takes place on the Sabbath is linked to the Sages' belief that on Sabbath additional souls are given. In the Sefer *ha-Bahir this word is expounded in connection with the Sefirah Yesod, which "maintains all the souls" and from which the souls fly. Many sayings of the Sages and the different customs they initiated are given a mystical meaning in Kabbalah. The concept of "family peace" (shelom bayit), which must be kept especially on the Sabbath, is interpreted in Kabbalah as "peace, which is the Sefirah Yesod, is at home [bayit] in the Sefirah Malkhut" (ibid.). The Sabbath candles lit by the wife are symbols of the additional souls emanating from the Sefirah Malkhut, which is called sukkat shalom ("canopy of peace"). The Zohar treats at length of the Sabbath, the time when the entire arrangement of the order of the worlds is changed. Lights descend like dew from the upper to the lower Sefirot, and from there the divine abundance flows to all creatures. The additional souls that descend through the medium of the divine harmony illuminate the faces of the people who enjoy the holiness of the Sabbath. Many passages in the Zohar are poetical descriptions of the position of the worlds on the Sabbath. A typical passage is to be found in the second part of the Zohar, 135a–b. This passage is reproduced in Ḥasidic prayer books and is recited ecstatically on Sabbath eve.

The author of the Zohar and other kabbalists who followed him decided not to recite the part of the Ma'ariv prayer beginning "and He is compassionate" on Sabbath eve, for they feared that the mention of sins in the prayer might awaken the forces of the sitra aḥra, which, according to the Zohar, do not have any power on the Sabbath.

During the renaissance of Kabbalah in 16th-century Safed, new customs were established which spread to the Diaspora. Two of the main ones were the order of Kabbalat Shabbat ("the reception of the Sabbath") and matters concerning the Sabbath meal. It is said that Isaac *Luria and his disciples used to go out of Safed on Friday afternoon to meet the Sabbath, a practice which is described in the Shulḥan Arukh shel ha-Ari: "The Sabbath is received in the field: you must stand facing west, preferably in a high place, and there must be an open space behind you." While singing Psalm 92 during the reception of the Sabbath, the kabbalists used to close their eyes to identify themselves with the *Shekhinah, who lost her sight by weeping incessantly for the exile of Israel. There are signs that in Safed itself there was some opposition to this custom of going out into the fields, which is expressed in Moses *Cordovero's commentary on the prayers and in the writings of Isaiah *Horowitz (the Shelah). Some of the kabbalists used to go out into the garden or the courtyard, but eventually the custom of turning westward was adopted. The author of Ḥemdat Yamim notes with resentment that he is not able to go out into the fields as was formerly done and states that in his own day (c. 1700?) this was still the custom in Jerusalem. Moses Cordovero's circle adopted the custom of reciting during this service six psalms for the six days of the week, along with Psalm 92 for the Sabbath. This order of the Kabbalat Shabbat service, including the hymns Lekhah Dodi, written by Solomon Alkabeẓ, and Bar Yoḥai, written by Simeon *Labi, is to be found in the books of Tikkunei Shabbat which were printed at the beginning of the 17th century.

Concerning the Sabbath meal, these books state that it was the custom to recite Shalom Aleikhem and Eshet Ḥayil (Prov. 31:10–31), the latter being introduced since it is expounded by the Zohar and various kabbalists as referring to the Shekhinah. These books also contain hymns which Isaac Luria wrote for each of the Sabbath meals and the invocation of the divine powers in accordance with one of the ways instituted by the Zohar. Among some kabbalists great importance was attached to the fourth Sabbath meal which takes place at the end of the Sabbath. In the same way as the first three Sabbath meals were related to the Patriarchs, this fourth one was identified with David, the King Messiah. It therefore became particularly significant for the Shabbateans (see *Shabbetai Ẓevi), who often continued it until midnight. The third meal was of special importance for the Ḥasidim; it took place at a "favorable hour," which, according to the kabbalists, was the time of the Minḥah prayer on Sabbath.

[Efraim Gottlieb]

In Art

the sabbath light

The commandment of kindling the Sabbath lights has been fulfilled in a myriad of ways over the generations. Rabbinic texts from the Mishnah onwards are concerned with the types of fuel used to light and the material of the wicks, but not with the type of implements that contain the sources of light. Both local custom and the need to provide light throughout the day no doubt influenced the design of lamps for the Sabbath. In the ancient period clay lamps with one or more spouts were used. Later versions were probably made of metal. Archaeological evidence from the Land of Israel after the destruction of the Second Temple shows that ceramic lamps in use by the Jews were decorated with Jewish symbols to distinguish them from the lamps used by the local non-Jewish populace.

European Sabbath Lamps

Hanging Sabbath lamps of the Middle Ages consist of nozzles arranged in a circle at the periphery of an open, flat saucer filled with oil, thus creating their characteristic star shape. These lamps, usually made out of bronze or silver, often were hung at the end of a ratcheted hook which enabled raising and lowering. Certain lamps had bowls underneath for the collection of oil drips, some connected the nozzles to this bowl with attached metal ducts, others had various tools attached to them for trimming and cleaning. More elaborate lamps, made by non-Jewish craftsman, are embellished with figurines, narrative reliefs or other decorations. The Italians deepened the central saucer into a bowl, provided a silver drip pan to catch the excess oil, and hung the lamp by chains which converged at the top in a finial. In central and eastern Europe the central bowl was kept small and the spouts enlarged, the result being a star-shaped lamp called the Judenstern. While the form of the lamp was influenced by local design, the term Judenstern has been found in a record book of a silversmith from the 16th century, showing the association of this item with Jewish practice. Depictions of such lamps appear in Jewish manuscripts from both Spain and Ashkenaz of the 14th and 15th centuries (for example, the Sarajevo Haggadah (Sarajevo, National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, fol. 31v), the Second Nuremburg Haggadah (Jerusalem, Schocken Ms. 24087, fol. 4v), and the Ashkenazi Haggadah (London, British Library, Ms. 14762, fol. 6r)). The Italian rabbi, Leone *Modena (1571–1648), mentions in his Historia de riti Hebraici that women would light anywhere from four to six lights, congruent to the six pointed lamps depicted in manuscripts and printed books.

Candles were also used for lighting in the medieval period in Europe, as revealed by both halakhic texts and illuminated manuscripts. The candlesticks depicted in the Rothschild Miscellany (Jerusalem, Israel Museum Ms. 180/51), late 15th century Italy (fols. 55v, 156v), show striking similarity with candlesticks in use in private homes in Europe. Candles in Europe were often made from animal fat and thus not permissible for Jewish use. The 19th-century development of synthetic materials for candles led to their greater diffusion among the Jews. Concomitantly, advances in indoor illumination technology gave the lighting of the Sabbath candles a more symbolic and less practical function, also prompting the move away from oil lamps. In Poland, brass candlesticks with anywhere from three to seven candles, decorated with lions and eagles, often inscribed in Hebrew "to kindle the Sabbath lights," were common in Jewish homes, besides pairs of candlesticks.

North African and Oriental Jewish Communities

The use of oil as the main form of fuel among the North African and Oriental Jewish communities continued until the contemporary era. In Morocco, sheet brass rectangular vessels with wicks in the four corners were traditionally used for lighting. In Persia and Afghanistan, the silver vessel used for lighting resembled the shape of the ancient clay oil lamp, with a deep bowl for the oil and two wick-nozzles. Sometimes there were two separate bowls, one for each light. The base was often decorated with birds or floral motifs and engraved with the woman's name. In Yemen, a simple hanging round stone lamp with notches for multiple wicks was used.

kiddush cups

There is speculation that the gold glasses found in the catacombs of Italy were originally used for the blessing on wine. Jewish illuminated Haggadot from the late Middle Ages show elaborate goblets, sometimes with lids, sometimes double goblets, such as those depicted in the Ashkenazi Haggadah (London, British Library, Ms. 14762, fol.2v) and the Cincinnati Haggadah (Cincinnati, Hebrew Union College, Ms. 444, fol. 2v). As with Sabbath candlesticks, these cups were often copies of local types, generally made by non-Jewish craftsmen, and often decorated with vegetal motifs or geometric designs. In certain Oriental Jewish communities, the tradition of the lidded kiddush cup continues to the present time, often decorated with a small bird on the lid.

Ḥallah covers and knives

Other ritual objects for use on the Sabbath include a special cover for the *ḥallah and a special knife for cutting the ḥallah. Leone Modena mentions a long cloth used to cover the ḥallah, as depicted in both the Ashkenazi (fol. 6r) and the Cincinnati Haggadot (fol. 2v). Extant examples of embroidered ḥallah covers from the 19th century from various European communities have survived, as well as such knives.

contemporary ritual art

Twentieth-century Jewish artists, such as Ludwig Wolpert and Moshe Zabari, applied their skills to making modern versions of all the Sabbath implements, and contemporary Judaica artists such as Zelig Segal continue this trend for a growing market. The blossoming of contemporary Jewish art makes the list of artists working in this field too numerous to mention.

the sabbath in painting

The earliest printed depiction of a Jewish woman lighting a six-pointed Judenstern appears in the Sefer ha-Minhagim of Venice from the year 1593. Christian works on the Jews, such as Johann Christoph Georg Bodenschatz' Kirchliche Verfassung der heutigen Juden sonderlich derer in Deutschland (Frankfurt and Leipzig: Johannes Friedrich Becker, 1748–49) also show women lighting Sabbath lamps. Sabbath candlesticks as an attribute of the Jewish women appear on Jewish carved gravestones from the 19th century. Moritz *Oppenheim in Germany in his Bilder aus dem altjüdischen Familienleben ("Scenes rom Traditional Jewish Family Life," 1866), shows a woman lighting a traditional oil lamp, and devotes several works in the series to the subject of the Sabbath. Jewish artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Isidor *Kaufmann, show traditional Jewish women on Sabbath eve with two lit candlesticks on the table. The Scandinavian Jewish artist, Geskel Saloman, shows two women lighting from a four-branched Polish-style candlestick. The subject of the Sabbath appears in the works of Samuel Hirszenberg, Boris *Schatz, Hermann *Struck, Jacob *Steinhardt, Josef *Budko, and Max *Band, among others. The use of the candlesticks to symbolize Jewish tradition and the home can be found in the works of Marc *Chagall, and Naftali *Bezem, while Yossl *Bergner uses the spice box (see *Havdalah). The subject of the Sabbath in the life of the pioneers was dealt with by Israel artists Yohanan Simon and Joseph Kossonogi.

[Susan Nashman Fraiman (2nd ed.)]

bibliography:

E. Millgram, Sabbath: The Day of Delight (1944, incl. full bibl.); U. Cassuto, From Adam to Noah (1961), 165–9; de Vaux, Anc Isr, 475–83 (incl. bibl.); H.J. Kraus, Worship in Israel (1966), 78–88; see also Maim. Yad, Shabbat; Sh. Ar., oḤ, 242–344; J.Z. Lauterbach, Rabbinic Essays (1951), 437–70; H. Biberfeld, Menuḥah Nekhonah (19653); A.J. Heschel, The Sabbath (1951); S. Goldman, Guide to the Sabbath (1961); Y.L. Baruch, Sefer ha-Shabbat (1956). add. bibliography: Y.L. Bialer, "Shabbat Implements in Art," in: Mahanaim, 85–86 (1964), 138–43 (Heb.); H. Friedberg, "The Contemporary Design of Ritual Art," in: Mahanaim, (new series) 11, part 2, (1995), 230–39 (Heb.); F. Landsberger, "The Origin of the Ritual Implements for the Sabbath," in: huca, 27 (1956; repr. in J. Gutmann (ed.), Beauty in Holiness: Studies in Jewish Customs and Ceremonial Art (1970), 167–203; V. Mann, "New Examples of Jewish Ceremonial Art from Medieval Ashkenaz," in: Artibus et Historiae, no. 17 (1988), 13–24; K. Schwartz, "Shabbat in Art," in: Ya'akov Nacht et al. (eds.), Sefer HaShabbat (1958), 551–64 (Heb.); I. Shachar, Jewish Tradition in Art: The Feuchtwanger Collection of Judaica (1981); V. Sussman, Ornamented Jewish Oil Lamps from the Fall of the Second Temple Through the Revolt of Bar Kochba (Heb., 1972); R. Wischnitzer-Bernstein, "The Sabbath in Art," in: A.E. Millgram, Sabbath The Day of Delight (1965), 319–33; B. Yaniv and Z. HaNegbi, Zohar, Shabbat Shalom (1998); E. Zoref, "Shabbat in Jewish Painting," in: Mahanaim, 85–86 (1964), 152–57 (Heb).

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