Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Shabbat

The Shabbat: set apart as holy (kodesh in the Hebrew) by God Himself.

The above photograph features Chinese Symposium Participants enjoying their authentic Friday night Shabbat meal hosted by political cartoonist Yaakov Kirschen and his wife and fellow artist Sali Ariel

Therefore God blessed Shabbat and made it holy. 

The fabric of Israel's worship was woven of many strands. These may be summarized as acts of purification; dietary laws; sacrifices, tithes, and other offerings; the observance of the Sabbath, festivals, and fast-days; and prayer understood in its broadest sense.

    To Remember (zakhor) Shabbat: "Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God" -- Hebrew: Zakhor et yom ha-Shabbat l'kad'sho -Exodus 20:8. This command includes more than merely remembering to observe the weekly tradition. It requires us to remember why we observe the Sabbath.

Origin of the Sabbath
Sabbath observance is commanded in both biblical versions the Ten Commandments, but that's not where it first appears. If it were, one might assume it is applicable only to Jews. The command however is given to all people for all time.

Moedim or appointments matter to God! To find the origins of the Sabbath we must make our way back in time to Genesis 1:1 where we read:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

On the first day of the first week God (Elohiym) created the light that illumines our planet. This was the first Sun-day (Hebrew only names Shabbat, the rest of the days are numbered). And when did this day begin? The text says: "And the evening and the morning were the first day."

The Bible uses a lunar calendar and so we see clearly that the first day, which we call Sunday, began with the sun at rest. Modern calendars are solar based so when considering Shabbat (the Sabbath) we must think a bit differently. The day begins as the sun sets.

Genesis one continues describing the creation week until, on the sixth day, Elohiym created Adam and Chava (Eve), and then:

Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

The clear statement of these texts (and confirmed later on) is that in six literal days the One God, here called Elohiym, performed the work of creation and then we read:

Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

We know what day the Sabbath was and is because the Jews have carefully maintained the Hebrew calendar. Some cultures did not use a seven day calendar but the Jews do and they document the sacred day.

At this point in the week of creation Adam and Eve had been created. They were living in Paradise and had not yet given into temptation and rebellion. The Earth at this point was a blessed and sacred place in complete perfect harmony with Elohiym's Will. There was no taint of sin, nothing in need of redemption, everything was as it should be.

Why is this significant?

This matters because it shows that the Sabbath is part of God's original plan for the earth and its inhabitants, not something added due to the introduction of rebellion. At this point in the Bible we know nothing of sin and rebellion. There are no Noahide nor Mosaic laws, no people Israel, no need of atonement and salvation. Everything is exactly as Elohiym intends. AND Elohiym clearly intends for the creation to observe the weekly appointment, Shabbat.

Shabbat, the Sabbath or seventh day, stands unique among the days of the week. Shabbat was specifically set apart as holy (kodesh in the Hebrew) by God Himself. Of this word kodesh we read:
    A primitive root; to be (causatively make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally): - appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, hallow, (be, keep) holy (-er, place), keep, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify (-ied one, self), X wholly (Strong's: H6942).

This could not be any more clear. Shabbat is the most important external observance in biblical religion. Observing Shabbat is the foundational sign that one is in a covenant relationship with HaShem. As our Messianic Siddur (prayer book) translates Exodus 31:13: "Above all, my Sabbaths you shall keep; for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.

"Above all." This allows for no exceptions. There is not a single verse anywhere in the 66 books of the Bible that nullifies this direct command, nor a single verse sanctifying any other week day, including Sunday, as being kodesh (holy). 

In that utterly perfect state Shabbat was set aside and sanctified to God our Creator as the weekly day to honor Him!

Therefore, from the very beginning Shabbat was declared sacred by God and set apart! Biblically one can not successfully argue this point.
And yet it was abandoned by most of the world!

It is true that there are no more references in the Torah to the Sabbath being observed for a while (until the period of the Exodus). Does this mean it wasn't? Of course not. A case cannot be from silence. Because HaShem set the day apart the people observed it without comment in the Bible. Before Noach few commands were spelled out and even then it was not until Elohiym revealed Himself to Moshe as Adonai that much direction is given. Shabbat was the first divine commandment ever given and it was given to all creation. [1]
As our planet earth continues to hurtle forward along its orbit without pause, so, too, does modern man race forward along the path of his life. Today's work market is so competitive and pressured that one dares not stop for a moment, lest he be trampled by the galloping masses all around him. Those who do not make substantial progress are shoved to the sidelines. Inevitably, we are at a loss to avoid the paradox: modern man devotes the major part of his waking hours to earning a living for himself and his family. Tragically, the pressure is so great that he is left without the time to devote to the wife and children for whose welfare he invests so much of his time and energies. 

The battle for one's livelihood has become so intense that it is the defining facet of our lives. For most, it consumes the majority of our time, efforts and thoughts. One is paid for talent, sweat, and loyal, continuous effort – in short, all the human resources with which man is endowed. We are drilled to achieve maximum efficiency, to produce the greatest possible profits for our company. Wisdom, science, and understanding are no longer sought for their own sake. Rather, their value is determined by how much the firm will profit from their application in the market place.

The race into which we are thrust is not for culture or wisdom; it has deteriorated and eroded into a frantic dash after money. Human qualities such as mercy, compassion, wisdom and selfless devotion to the welfare of others are no longer of the highest order of value, unless they bring profit or fame in their wake. How do we curtail this unbridled race toward increased profitability? Where and how can modern man get in touch with his true self?

Each week, the Shabbat enables man to rise above the concerns of earning his livelihood, paying his mortgage, and keeping his employer satisfied. It affords him an opportunity to get in touch with his inner self, to put the concerns of the soul at the top of his priorities, to set his own private, inner “home” in order. It changes our point of perspective on our world and those in it. 

Anyone who has had the opportunity to experience an authentic Shabbat will know that by observing the seventh day has a healthful, enriching effect. It broadens our horizons and improves our quality of life.

The Shabbat day allows the family to gather without pressure, to become better acquainted with each other and to share their lives. Worries fade into the background, as man learns to view his world from a better angle, with the eyes of the soul within his heart. [2]

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws (Daniel 7:25).

Catholic catechisms show that the Papacy has tried to change the law of God. The Ten Commandments have been tampered with. The Second Commandment, which refers to images and idols, is absent in Catholic literature. And to make up for the loss of one commandment, the Tenth is divided into two. The Fourth Commandment, which talks about the Sabbath, becomes the third commandment in the Catholic catechism. The day of worship is shifted by papal decree from Saturday to Sunday.

And your Ancient Ruins Shall Be Rebuilt; You Shall Raise Up The Foundations Of Many Generations; you shall be Called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets To Dwell in. Isaiah 58:12
Isa 58:13 "If you hold back your foot on Shabbat from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call Shabbat a delight, ADONAI's holy day, worth honoring; then honor it by not doing your usual things or pursuing your interests or speaking about them.

Isa 58:14 If you do, you will find delight in ADONAI - I will make you ride on the heights of the land and feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Ya'akov, for the mouth of ADONAI has spoken."

The Shabbat and the Everlasting Covenant
The Shabbat the center of HaShems law, It is the sign of our covenant relationship with HaShem

Catholic Dr. Johann Eck, Luther’s principal adversary, said this in 1533:
There is no mention of the cessation of the Sabbath and the institution of Sunday in the gospels or in Paul's writings, or in all the Bible; therefore, this has taken place by the Church instituting it without scripture.

Ezekiel /Yachazaq'al 20:20--Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Shabbats. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am HaShem, who makes you 
Eze 20:20 and keep my shabbats holy; and they will be a sign between me and you, so that you will know that I am ADONAI your God."

Ezekiel/Yachazaq'al 20:12, I gave them my shabbats as a sign between me and them, so that they would know that I, ADONAI, am the one who makes them holy.

Both Ezekiel/Yachazaq'al and Jeremiah/Yaramyahu state that one main reason ancient Jerusalem/Yarushalayim was destroyed was because they refused to enter into this covenant relationship of the Shabbat.

Exodus/Shamuth 20:10
But the Seventh day is a Shabbat to HaShem your Elohim. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.
Exo 20:10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for ADONAI your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work -not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the for eigner staying with you inside the gates to your property.

Exodus 31:13: "Above all, my Sabbaths you shall keep; for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you 

"Above all." This allows for no exceptions. There is not a single verse anywhere in the 66 books of the Bible that nullifies this direct command, nor a single verse sanctifying any other week day, including Sunday, as being kodesh (holy)

To Observe (shamor) Shabbat: "Observe the day of Shabbat, to set it apart as holy" -- Hebrew: Shamor et yom ha-Shabbat l'kad'sho -Deuteronomy 5:12. This command (or mitzvot) tells us to observe Shabbat properly and with full intention. We are to view the seventh day as holy (again, "kodesh" in the Hebrew), as a day set apart for spiritual and restful activities. All week long we struggle in the world as it is (the Olam HaZeh), but on Shabbat we celebrate the world as it will be (in the Olam Haba) once the Kingdom of HaShem is established "on Earth as it is in Heaven" and Y'shua as HaMoshiach (the Messiah) takes his seat on the Throne of David his father (Psalms 110)!

The laws and times mentioned in Daniel 7:25 are laws that God Himself has established and time that God Himself has set. The law that stands out throughout the Bible is the Ten Commandment law.
Papal Rome tampered with the law of God and changed the ordinances, even though God says, "For I am the LORD, I change not" (Malachi 3:6).

The following Orthodox video may be informative about how to light the candles. 

    Baruch a-ta A-do-nay
    Elo-hei-nu me-lech ha-o-lam
    a-sher ki-dee-sha-nu bi-mitz-vo-tav
    vi-tzi-va-noo li-had-leek
    ner shel Sha-bbat ko-desh.
    Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe,
    who has sanctified us with His commandments,
    and commanded us to kindle the light of the Holy Shabbat.

Like the Sabbath, the festivals were designed to bring the worshiper nearer to God. They were occasions of deep religious joy (Deut. 16:15; Neh. 8:10ff.). Biblical religion, while deploring all forms of intemperance and overindulgence, nevertheless looked askance at asceticism. Wine was created to gladden the human heart (Ps. 104:15). The Lord was to be served in gladness (Ps. 100:2; cf. Shab. 30b). 

Ba-rooch ah-ta Adonai, Eh-lo-hay-noo meh-lehch ha-oh-lahm, bo-ray p'ree ha-ga-fen.
In English:
Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the Universe,
Who creates the fruit of the Vine.

Therefore God blessed Shabbat and made it holy. With the permission of the distinguished people present: Blessed are you God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.
Drink a mouthful of the wine (if you can't, one of the participants can do it for you), and then pass the wine around to the other participants.

The Sabbath and the other holy days of Israel's calendar have played an immeasurable role in developing and ennobling Israel's worship. The attempt to find the origin of the Sabbath in the Babylonian šapattu has proved abortive. Whatever its origin, the idea of the Sabbath in the scriptural context is a unique institution, meant to articulate divine sovereignty over time, just as the sabbatical year articulates divine sovereignty over territory. From one point of view, it was Israel's answer to the Egyptian bondage; any human being, even a slave, needs rest. Not only humans, but also animals require recuperation from toil (Ex. 23:12; Deut. 5:12–15). In the Exodus version of the Decalogue, the Sabbath assumes cosmic significance; it becomes a memorial to the story of Creation (Ex. 20:8–11; cf. Gen. 2:1–4). Nor were the prophets less emphatic in stressing the hallowed character of the day (Isa. 58:13–14; Ezek. 20:20), and Nehemiah took stern measures to enforce its observance. An extension of the Sabbath idea is to be seen in the sabbatical year (Ex. 23:10ff.; Deut. 15) and in the year of jubilee (Lev. 25). [3]

Now recite the blessing over the challah:
The two loaves of challah (Sabbath bread) are taken and blessed with the Hamotzee ("The Blessing Over The Bread"):
Ba-rooch ah-ta Adonai, Eh-lo-hay-noo meh-lehch
ha-oh-lahm, ha-mo-tzee leh-chehm meen ha-ah-retz.
In English:
Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the Universe,
Who brings forth bread from the Earth.
Those present drink, eat and make merry in the presence of HaShem, family and friends.

About forty minutes after nightfall it is traditional for the family to gather together to bid farewell to Shabbat. There are various traditional rites known as Havdalah (separation) that can be performed but this is optional. We like to join hands and give thanks to HaShem for the Day now past. We pray for the people in our lives, we pray for Israel and the Jewish people around the world, we pray about whatever is on our hearts at the time and ask HaShem to lead and use us in the week to come. We say "Omayn" (Amen) and venture out of the Kingdom of the Olam Haba with faith seeking to serve Him in the world as it is (the Olam Hazeh) during the next six days looking forward to our next Shabbat rest.


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