Shabbat Discussion Questions

Shabbat Candles, Challah, Wine

Why is the first thing in the Bible which is called “Holy”, Shabbat?

Torah Scroll

A leather made scroll of Megilat Esther

  • Nothing created in the first six days of creation is called Holy. Even human beings. Of all God’s Creations, only Shabbat is called holy.
  • How have you experienced the holiness in the Sabbath?

Shabbat means to stop. Why is neither stopping and resting nor anything we do or even God does the first thing that is called Holy?

  • What does it mean to stop and rest and be with God? When have you truly stopped? What did you discover?

Why is it that time, specifically stopping in time, the first thing that is set apart for God?

  • Quick reminder: Kadosh-Holy means something set apart for God.
  • What have you set apart in your life to create meaning and spiritual connection? Is there a special place you visit? Or a family routine that is sacred in your life?

Shabbat is a Day of Rest and Kedusha/Sanctity. Is it enough to “rest” and “refrain” from doing things on Shabbat? Suppose you do nothing all Shabbat – just eat and sleep. Have you celebrated Shabbat?

Shabbat Candles
  • Genesis 2:3 says “God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy.” And the Ten Commandments tell us “to keep it [Shabbat] holy.”
  • How can we live in Shabbat? How can we feel holiness on Shabbat? 

How do you prepare to stop on Shabbat?


  • The experience of stopping for Shabbat is not like screeching to a stop at a red traffic light. You need to prepare to stop. Truly experiencing the holiness of Shabbat requires preparation and planning to allow for your sacred time and space of Shabbat.
  • How have you prepared to stop? What do you need to do in advance so that you can truly do nothing?

Do we need Shabbat any longer, when we have weekends and days off? Does the Biblical calendar of Shabbat still resonate meaning in our modern, always-connected life?

  • What activities might you consider NOT doing on Shabbat in the modern world? Would not doing them restrict you or “liberate” you?  Is there value to making this a routine part of your life? What would you do to make it special? What about a traditional Shabbat appeals to you?  What might you add?


Western Wall

  • Have you spent Shabbat in Israel? Have you ever experienced Shabbat in Jerusalem? How was it different? How did being in Jerusalem enhance the holiness of Shabbat?

Food is very important on Shabbat and we are expected to have three meals.

  • Are there foods that are special for you on Shabbat? Would you feel right eating them any day of the week? Besides the food, is there something you would especially want for the Shabbat table?