According to Biblical accounts in Genesis, the concept of Shabbat is as old as creation. God created the Heavens and the Earth in six days and rested on the seventh. God then blessed the seventh day, sanctifying it as a day of rest there after. The concept of the Sabbath as a sanctified day of rest is intrinsic to the Jewish faith.
The Bible also provides us with information about the origins of one of the most important Shabbat traditions; the lighting of candles on Erev Shabbat. Around 3,800 years ago Abraham and Sarah wandered the Middle East. They pitched their tents at desert crossroads and offered hospitality to passing strangers of all tribes and faiths.
A divine miracle occurred in Sarah’s tent when her Shabbat lamp continued to burn all week until the following Erev Shabbat. The miraculous light continued for the duration of Sarah’s life and ended with her death. The divine light suddenly reappeared when Rebecca married Sarah’s son Isaac and came to live in the matriarchal tent.
Moses also played a pivotal role in the development of our modern Shabbat rituals. Exodus relates how Moses reasoned with Pharoah in ancient Egypt and negotiated a weekly day of rest for the Hebrew slaves. Later, at Marah, God gave Moses the commandments, including the commandment to observe the Sabbath. There are many more references to Shabbat in the Bible, but these illustrate its ancient origin and special place at the heart of Judaism.