The significance of Shabbat:

As per the Jewish tradition, Shabbat is the weekly day of rest. Shabbat is a Hebrew word and in English, it literally means ‘he rested’. But the significance of Shabbat is quite deep than just resting and taking a break. It is the day when God took rest for the first time after creating the earth and heaven. Though he was not taking any break; he just completed all his work and there was nothing remaining to accomplish. So, the time was only to cherish the result of all the hard work. The same way, when we discuss Shabbat, it does not mean to take a break when works are pending. It means there is no work to be done for the week and one can relish the feeling of completeness by celebrating Shabbat. After completing all the works for the week, you put all your goals and ambitions into the closet and celebrate life along with your friends and family on this holy day. It says that resting is also important after finishing all works so that in the next week, you feel charged up again to take new challenges.

How Jews celebrate Shabbat:

As per Halakha, the customary law of Jews, Shabbat takes place right before the sunset on Friday evening and ends on Saturday night, after the three stars appear in the sky. As this is the holy day for rest, there are certain activities (specifically craftsmanship) that you cannot perform on this day. There is a total of 39 skills listed in Halakha, known together as ‘Melakhah’, which a ‘Shomer Shabbat’ should not perform. A ‘Shomer Shabbat’ is a person who abides by the melakhah unconditionally. However, though some conservatives follow these rules strictly, everyone celebrates this day in their own way. On this day, the Jews wear nice traditional dresses and also wear white dresses to express purity. They welcome Shabbat as a ‘queen’ or ‘bride’ on Friday night by decorating their homes with flowers, lighting silver Shabbat candlesticks, singing special songs, chanting prayers, and making special dishes. On this holy day, elders bless youngers and everyone greets each other saying ‘Shabbat Shalom’, which means ‘peace on Shabbat’. 

Importance of lighting silver Shabbat candlesticks:

The practice of kindling Shabbat candles is a rabbinic tradition dated back to around 500 C.E., the time when the Talmud was organized. As per the tradition, the woman of the house lights up the candle first, but generally, anybody can light the candles. According to the Jewish culture, they light a minimum of 2 candles, which leads to two passages mentioned in the Torah to maintain the oath of Shabbat. Abiding the traditional observance, a person should not light up candles after the beginning of Shabbat and the beginning of Shabbat starts with blessings. So, the candles are lit before chanting the blessings. And at this time people wave their hands three times and cover their eyes while they recite the blessings in order to see the lighting candles after the blessing was over.