How observing the Sabbath every week might affect the life of a Jew

Shabbat is a time of peace and joy for Jews all over the world, and involves prayer, food and relaxation. It begins Friday night at sunset and ends when there are three stars visible in the sky Saturday evening. Shabbat is observed both by positive rituals, such as three festive meals (Friday-night dinner, Saturday lunch, and a Saturday-evening meal), and prohibitions. There are over thirty Activities forbidden on the Shabbat, as the Sabbath is supposed to be a day of rest in which Jews can focus on God and their family. Many Jews attend synagogue services on Shabbat even if they do not do so during the week.

The Sabbath also involves many restrictions of anything that can be classed as work or exerting excessive effort. Therefore things such as turning on lights, cleaning, building etc should all be avoided. Preparations for the Sabbath begin on Friday afternoon, observant Jews leave the office, the house is cleaned, the family bathes and dresses up a festive meal is prepared. In addition, everything that cannot be done during Shabbat must be set up in advance , Shabbat meals must be made. Shabbat candles are lit and a blessing is recited two candles are lit.

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The family then attends a brief evening service, the man of the house recite a prayer over wine sanctifying Shabbat. The family then eats dinner. As you can see, Shabbat is a very full day when it is properly observed, and can very relaxing. However this means Jews are unable to turn on the TV, drive a car or go shopping. Therefore observing the Sabbath each week must have a significant effect on the life of a child as playing games, using electrical devices such as computers, laptops, going out with friends etc are all forbidden.

However, as Sabbath is a celebration as well as a estrictive practise, this must be enjoyed by adult Jews who use this opportunity to spend time with the family and seek guidance from God. Additionally, those Jews who observe the Sabbath regularly must find the practise second nature and not find it too difficult. Whereas, those Jews who are unfamiliar with the Sabbath may find it more difficult and restrictive. Orthodox Jews would definitely stay at home or in the synagogue for the entire period of Sabbath. They are likely to be very strict about Sabbath and refrain from any type of work or practise.

Modern Jews are slightly more flexible. they may stay at home instead of visiting the synagogue, and would perhaps engage in some activities such as changing the light bulb if it went out or use electricity. The effect Sabbath has on each Jew obviously varies. As mentioned earlier children may find it more difficult as its hard for them to truly understand and appreciate the opportunity Sabbath gives them tot see their family and worship. Whereas adults may be more excited about the Sabbath as they get to spend time with one another.

Another factor that determines how people are effected by the Sabbath may be the surrounding population. If a Jew is living in a predominantly Jewish country they may find Sabbath very simple as the locals are all observing the same ritual and are not out and about. Whereas, if you live in a non Jewish society and all your friends and neighbourhoods are continuing with their life, this may make it harder for the Jewish person as they may wish to go out, do their shopping , see their friends as they were probably working 9-5 all week and want to see their friends on the weekends.

Other practical difficulties Jews may face when observing Sabbath is simply getting time off work. in western societies it is common practise to work on weekends, so finding time of work may prove difficult for Jews. in addition they may miss out on pay checks and payments if they refuse to work during the Sabbath. Going on holiday may also make the Sabbath far more difficult for Jews as they may have to continue with the Sabbath and not get to enjoy their holiday. However, modern or liberal Jews may not practise Sabbath when they are abroad.

How much the Sabbath effects a Jews life depends on their age, society, and circumstances. the elderly would probably find Sabbath extremely easy. they do not have any commitments at work which would hinder their ability to perform the Sabbath, they usually do not need to drive here and there and prefer to be at home anyway, and finally its an excellent opportunity to see their loved ones. thus for them the Sabbath does not effect them as much and definitely would not effect them in a negative way. or adults it has its ups and downs, loosing out on pay checks, not being able to shop or run errands and preparing the meal all might become slightly stress full. However, the Sabbath provides them with a relaxing weekend after working hard, it also gives them a chance to seek god and spend time with family.

For teenagers the situation may get frustrating as they may wish to use the days of Sabbath to socialise with friends or watch tv, after a week at school. I think children would probably find Sabbath the most difficult. hildren may not accept the spiritual aspects of Sabbath and are used to getting their way, and wont see why they cant use the computer or tv so are likely to get bored. However, I am sure once the children and teens get used to the idea of Sabbath they should be able to cope better, The concept of Sabbath is one that ensures Jews relax and have a stress free weekend as a reward for working hard all week. it symbolises the ancient times in which Jews were made to work all week without a break, and this celebration is a reward for the hardship they once faced.

This practice allows the Jews to draw closer to god through prayer, reflection and rituals. the effects that the Sabbath is the ability to bring the family closer together, given the busy schedule of most people during the week the Sabbath provides an excellent opportunity to retreat back to the family and prioritise your home over your work or friends. It also could rejuvenate the Jews as after a spiritual weekend they feel more confident and comfortable getting on with the rest of the week and have not over worked themselves.

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