The Tanakh and siddur (Jewish
prayer book) describe Shabbat as having three
To commemorate the Israelites'
redemption from slavery in ancient Egypt;
To commemorate God's creations of the universe;
on the seventh day God rested from (or ceased)
his work; As a "taste" of Olam Haba
(the Messianic Age).
Judaism accords Shabbat the status
of a joyous holy day. In many ways, Jewish law
gives Shabbat the status of being the most important
holy day in the Jewish calendar:
It is the first holy day mentioned
in the Bible, and God was the first to observe
it with the cessation of Creation (Genesis 2:1–3).
Jewish liturgy treats the Shabbat as a "bride"
and "queen" (see Shekhinah).
The Sefer Torah is read during the Torah reading
which is part of the Shabbat morning services,
with a longer reading than during the week. The
Torah is read over a yearly cycle of 54 parshiyot,
one for each Shabbat (sometimes they are doubled).
On Shabbat, the reading is divided into seven
sections, more than on any other holy day, including
Yom Kippur. Then, the Haftarah reading from the
Hebrew prophets is read.
A tradition states that the Jewish Messiah will
come if every Jew properly observes two consecutive
The punishment in ancient times for desecrating
Shabbat (stoning) is the most severe punishment
in Jewish law.
Reciting blessing over Shabbat