The Sabbath or Shabbat as it is called in Hebrew is a day for Jews to devote themselves to rest, studying the Torah, prayer and the family. It is considered a gift from God that is looked forward to. Jews believe God wants them to keep one day holy the way he did when he finished creating the earth. Jews observe this by taking one day a week to rest, pray, stop working and celebrate it as a gift from God.
There are two reasons in the Torah for keeping Shabbat. The first, in Shemot and the Ten Commandments, says to remember Shabbat because God rested after making the world for 6 days, and so should we. The second, in Devarim says that we should keep Shabbat to remember our liberation from slavery in Egypt, as the ability to rest is a sign of the free. "You shall perform no melakha, you, your son and your daughter, your man- and maid-servant, and your ox and your donkey and all your beasts, and the stranger in your gates” (Exodus:20-10). “And remember that you were a servant in Egypt, and Hashem your God took you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore, Hashem your God has commanded you to keep the Shabbat day" (Deuteronomy 5:15).
There is much to prepare for Shabbat. As no food can be prepared on Shabbat, all food must be cooked and prepared in advance, and lights must be turned on or off or timers set if the household uses them. The family also cleans the house as if awaiting a visit from the queen which is Shabbat. All family members washes and dresses up, sets the table with fine dishes and prepares a festive meal. They also place challot and 2 candlesticks on the table that represent the 2 commands about Shabbat, "Remember the
Sabbath day" (Exodus 20:8, Perelson 43) and "Observe the Sabbath day" (Deuteronomy 5:12, Perelson 43).
The beginning of Shabbat is from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday and is marked by the lighting of a minimum of two Shabbat candles. This is usually done by the woman of the family and a...