By Deane Barker

This is the Jewish day of rest. It lasts from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. Observant Jews – known as “shomer Shabbat” – are prohibited from doing any work during this time.

The definition of “work” comes from 39 prohibited categories. Many of things are historic jobs performed by craftsman, like grinding, smoothing, carrying, etc. Here’s a detailed list.

That page is an excerpt from a book, and it states:

the definition of such work is any act where man demonstrates his mastery over nature

There are other traditions associated with Shabbat, such as prayers, the lighting of candles, communal meals, and the eating of a special bread called Challah.

Shabbat comes from an interpretation of the fourth commandment:

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy

Both “sabbath” and “Shabbat” come from a Hebrew word meaning “rest.”

The word is pronounced how it’s written, but I found differing opinions on which syllable gets the emphasis. Either way seems to be acceptable. It’s also written (and pronounced) “Shabbos.” It turns out this is mostly by the Ashkenazi Jew population.

Why I Looked It Up

I follow a TikTok creator named (appropriately) sophiathejew who is an Orthodox Jew. She often films her preparations for Shabbos (how she says it, and how TikTok’s transcription service spells it).

Note that all her Shabbos videos are about her preparing for Shabbos. Due to her observance, she won’t actually film a video on Shabbos, so she has a “blackout period” during that time.

Also, one of the plot points of The Big Lebowski is that Walter is shomer Shabbat. In this clip, he explains (quite profanely) how he won’t bowl (or do anything else) during Shabbat.

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