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Home > Holidays > Shabbat's Guide to Shabbat
Observing Shabbat

Shabbat: FAQ

What is Shabbat?
Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest observed from sunset Friday until dark Saturday night.

What is the blessing to say over the Shabbat candles?
Baruch atah adonoy, elohaynu melech ho-olom, asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav v'tizvanu l'hadlik ner shel shabbat.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, the sovereign of the world, who made us holy with His commandments and commanded us to kindle lights for Shabbat.

What is kiddush?
This sanctifies the Shabbat. Kiddush recalls God's decision not to create on Shabbat, and the Jewish people's status as free individuals who are able to observe this day of rest.

What is the birkat hamazon?
The Grace after Meals. While blessings are recited before eating, in Judaism Grace is recited after eating to say thanks for the food enjoyed.

What are the 39 categories of work prohibited on Shabbat?
The 39 prohibitions fall within 7 categories as follows:

Growing and Preparing Food
1. plowing
2. sowing
3. reaping
4. stacking sheaves
5. threshing
6. winnowing
7. selecting out
8. sifting
9. grinding
10. kneading
11. baking (cooking)

Making Clothing
12. sheep-shearing
13. bleaching (washing)
14. combining raw materials
15. dyeing
16. spinning
17. threading a loom
18. weaving
19. removing a finished article
20. separating threads
21. tying knots
22. untying knots
23. sewing
24. tearing

Leatherwork and Writing
25. trapping an animal
26. slaughtering
27. flaying skins
28. tanning
29. scraping
30. marking out
31. cutting
32. writing
33. erasing

Providing Shelter
34. building
35. demolishing

Creating Fire
36. kindling a fire
37. extinguishing a fire

Work Completion
38. finishing something or making it usable

Transporting Goods
39. carrying in a public place

What is Havdalah?
The short service done at home that concludes Shabbat. It is done using a cup of wine, a multi-wicked candle, and sweet-smelling spices.

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