Shabbat is the Hebrew word for Sabbath and literally means ‘to cease from work’. The idea of resting once every seven days may seem obvious today at a time when most people only work five days a week and have time-off for annual leave and bank holidays too, but when it was introduced in the Bible it was revolutionary. The Sabbath was given religious significance by being linked to the creation of the world, which was completed in six days according to the literal version of the Bible (or six stages/eras according to a more modern reading of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis). Having achieved the Creation, God then rested on the seventh day, and so we do in imitation of God and in remembrance of the wonder of the existence of the world. In the Biblical period, when clocks did not exist, time was measured by nature, the one sign that everyone could recognise. Thus each day started at sunset on the evening beforehand, and so the Sabbath starts on Friday evening and then lasts until nightfall on Saturday eve. During the Sabbath, the accent is on rest and personal refreshment – physical and spiritual – and so ordinary work is banned. This includes not only one’s normal job, but also any activity that was considered to count as work according to rabbinic interpretation, such as carrying in public or lighting a fire. This in turn led to prohibiting activities that came under extensions of those bans, such as turning on an electric switch or driving a car. Of course, there are different groups within Judaism and they differ in their approach to the Sabbath. According to the Orthodox, all the traditional bans still apply and must be observed today. According to the Reform, the definition of what constitutes work has changed over the centuries and modern conditions mean that activities which are not arduous in themselves – such as turning on an electric switch – can be permitted. All groups of Judaism would agree, though, that the Sabbath should be characterised by attending services at synagogues, having special ceremonies at home with family or friends, and spending the time in a way that leaves one relaxed and refreshed.