What is the Significance of Exodus 31:12 - 18 in Relationship to Jewish Beliefs?

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Within Exodus 31:12 - 18 Moses is told the importance of the seventh day by God, he is reminded that it must be kept holy. The significance of the sabbath is of clear importance to the Jews who are told, “Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death”. (Exodus 31:14) For Jews, defiling the Sabbath day is one of the top sins, only outranked by those of idol worship and murder, historically people have been stoned to death for committing this sin. This essay will be looking at why the sabbath day is important to the jews, what makes the sabbath day distinct and the practices of the sabbath.

The Sabbath is believed to have two main reasonings. The first of these
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As Cohn-Sherbok said, “The hebrew scriptures thus give two reasons for keeping the seventh day as a day of rest, firstly because God the Creator Himself rested and secondly in compassion for and in solidarity with the slave labourer.” (1999:68) These ideas in essence are the main beliefs about the sabbath, it is a day of rest and reflections set out in the Torah which the Jews must comply to.

The Key element which is brought up in the teachings about the sabbath day is the importance of refraining from works. For Jews, the punishment for working on the sabbath day is of high consequence. The Torah is not all that clear about what would be considered to be work, however, there is a collection of 39 prohibited activities (Melakhah) which are found in some of the first Rabbinic interpretations, dictating what a Jew should refrain from doing during the Sabbath. The term ‘Melakhah’ is commonly translated as ‘work’ in English, however, a more accurate translations would be ‘deliberate activity’. This translation makes it more clear that all activities should be avoided where possible and not just the jobs which are conducted during the six days of the week. There are situations in which it is permissible to break the sabbath, such as if a persons life is at risk. This breaking of Sabbath is taken very seriously though, if it was known that a person involved in an accident was already dead then the body must be

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