Zachor- the “do’s” of Shabbat


Many modern Jews immediately associate Shabbat with a list of “don’ts’, which is often off putting for many. This unit introduces the learner to the distinction between the two main commandments of remember” and “keep” the Sabbath day, with the emphasis on the positive commands of Shabbat observance.  In addition to the study of classical Jewish thinkers such as Rambam and Ramban, and of the great 20th century Jewish philosopher, Abraham Joshua Herschel,the student focuses on three of the“positive” traditional Shabbat practices, candle lighting, Kiddush and Havdalah. An intentional experience of a Shabbat, with implementation of the practices that were discussed in class, is one of the key activities for understanding how the positive commandments of Shabbat can play a powerful role in the creation of sacred time.


The learner will:

  1. Understand how the “do’s” of Shabbat as commanded in the Torah can create a day of joy and delight.

  2. Know that  remember” and “keep” are two commandments in the Torah that give us the code for how to observe the Shabbat, as well as some Rabbinic explanations for what the observance of “remember “ is all about

  3. Be able to experience the “do’s” of Shabbat through an actual Shabbat observance, either in the classroom or through a Shabbaton in the community

When you click on the Jewish Education by Design resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. Essential questions that get to the “heart” of the learning

  2. A hook/s to open the lesson in an engaging fashion and spark the learners’ curiosity

  3. In depth discussion questions that are designed to elicit conceptual thinking and personal reflections about the featured source/s

  4. Suggested activities that enable the students to both process and apply what was learned in a thought provoking and creative fashion

Student handouts

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