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The Sabbath is a weekly day of religious observance (and often, "rest"), found in all Abrahamic religions. The day commemorates the seventh day of creation; the day God is said to have rested.

The Sabbat—a term linguistically related to sabbath—is any one of several pagan celebrations of a similar nature.


[edit] Judaism

Of the Abrahamic religions, Jews follow the most doctrinal requirements for the Sabbath (Shabbat or Shabbos[1] in Hebrew). In Judaism, each new day starts with the sunset, rather than the sunrise, so the Jewish Shabbat starts at sunset on Friday evening and ends at sunset on Saturday evening. Traditionally, observant Jews are prohibited from doing some 39 actions on Shabbat, ranging from farm work to lighting or extinguishing a fire, all based on the idea that one should not do any work on the Shabbat. Modern observant Jews have found many workarounds which allow them modern day luxuries without breaking Shabbat, including the "Shabbat Setting" on the stove, which maintains a constant heat, but does not extinguish or ignite the entire 24 hours; and a telephone that's constantly pressing its own buttons but gets interrupted if you insert a pencil in one of the 12 holes, thereby allowing you to dial a phone number without technically pressing any buttons.

Jews generally do not impose the Shabbat traditions and laws onto Gentiles. Indeed, Jewish tradition states that a Gentile may voluntarily take on any commandment but Shabbat; therefore, non-Jews studying to convert to Orthodox Judaism must do something to break Shabbat every week until they finish their conversion. However, like the blue laws in the United States, the State of Israel does enforce basic Shabbat rules onto all businesses.[2]

[edit] Christianity

There seem to be four strains of thought in Christianity regarding the Sabbath:

[edit] The Sabbath is Saturday, so we take that day off.

This is the position of the Seventh Day Adventists. It is basically the Jewish position, although they aren't as strict; few Christians refrain from using electricity or lighting fires, for instance.

[edit] The Sabbath is Saturday, but we take Sunday off.

This appears to be the position of the Catholic Church. The obligation to honor the Sabbath is considered to have been ended by Jesus' sacrifice. Worship of God on Sunday is a new, a distinct, obligation.

[edit] The Sabbath is Sunday, so we take Sunday off.

This seems to be the general Christian understanding, and it may be largely an issue of lay people not understanding their own religion.

[edit] The Sabbath is a Jewish tradition. We're not Jewish.

Some Christians hold the position that the Sabbath is completely irrelevant to Christians, and Sunday is merely the day on which Christians tend to congregate.

Clearly, someone's getting it wrong here, and whoever it is is going to pay for it.

[edit] Forcible observation

Many blue laws are imposed on businesses to observe the Sabbath. The most common is a prohibition on the sale of alcohol.

[edit] Islam

Islam does not observe a day of rest but Friday is a holy day for Muslims when they try to do more religious observance and work less.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. "Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means that I don't work, I don't drive a car, I don't fucking ride in a car, I don't handle money, I don't turn on the oven, and I sure as shit don't fucking roll!"—Book of Lebowski, Sobchak 1:11
  2. The View From Saturday: Secular Israelis try to rescue the Sabbath.
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