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Why do we bless the One Who “sanctifies the *Jewish People* and the holidays”?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

  

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True. In the Shabbat prayers we say “He Who sanctifies the Shabbat,”  whereas on the holidays we bless the One Who: “Sanctifies the Jewish People and the holidays.”

The date for Shabbat is set. It’s every Saturday no matter what. So the sanctity of the day is created by G-d, who created the world and set the seven-day cycle in motion.

"The date for shabbat is set.....Jewish holidays on the other hand...are...celebrated...on a certain day of the month. That's why we say in the holiday kiddush 'who sanctifies Israel and the holidays,' since it is through Israel (the Jewish court), who are sanctified by G-d, that the holiday is sanctified."
Jewish Holidays, on the other hand, are not celebrated on a certain day of the week, but rather on a certain day of the month.

Now, Jewish months follow the cycle of the moon. The birth of a new moon signifies the first day of the month. However, the Torah puts it in our hands to figure out which is the first day of each month and to proclaim it as such. (That’s the way they did it in the olden days, anyhow. Nowadays we follow a calendar that was composed almost two thousand years back.)

That’s why we say in the holiday Kiddush “who sanctifies Israel and the holidays,” since it is through Israel (the Jewish court), who are sanctified by G-d, that the holiday is sanctified.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Holidays » General Information » Holiday Kiddush

Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Kiddush
Prayer recited at the beginning of the Sabbath or Holiday meal--both the evening and afternoon meals. This prayer, acknowledging the sanctity of the day, is recited over a cup of wine or grape juice.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.