Judaism forbids gentiles from keeping Shabbat. It's one of the activities which is unique to Jews and their relationship to Hashem.

To contrast this, we have the Noahide laws which were given to the whole of humanity at the time of Noah. This is the mainstream view of how a non-Jew can honor Hashem under non-Jewish circumstances.

Shabbat is not included in this.

My question is this:

The first Havdalah was lit by Adam and Eve. We actually recite the same words that Adam made at the moment he struck flint to create flame.

“Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d . . . who creates the lights of fire,”

If this activity was done at a time before the Torah was given and it involved the precursors to the whole of humanity, why did this get removed from humanity as a whole and not get incorporated into the Noahide laws?

Adam and Eve were not Jewish but they lit Havdalah candles. That implies this activity was a humanity-based activity rather than one unique to just Jews. So why do we forbid non-Jews from fully involving themselves in the Shabbat experience if Adam and Eve (who represent the parents to all of humanity) were doing this?

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    Once it became a commandment, the text indicates that it was בֵּינִ֗י וּבֵין֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל א֥וֹת הִ֖וא לְעֹלָ֑ם Ex 31:17
    – rosends
    Commented May 16, 2021 at 21:18
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    Citing your claim that "The first Havdalah was lit by Adam and Eve" would greatly strengthen your question.
    – msh210
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 19:58
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    (1) Is lighting a candle, and saying "who creates the lights of fire", a required part of the Havdalah? Can't one make Havdalah without lighting a candle? (2) Did Adam and Eve keep shabbat? (3) Adam and Eve were commanded to be fruitful and multiply, yet Noahides aren't commanded to do so. Why should Adam and Eve lighting Havdalah candles have a lasting effect on Noahide laws regarding keeping Shabbat?
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 3:15
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    @Michael That article states (based on Pesachim 54a and Bereshit Rabah 11:2) "G‑d then inspired Adam, who took two stones and struck them against each other, and fire burst forth". That is hardly a case of "[t]he first Havdalah was lit by Adam and Eve", or "Adam and Eve ... lit Havdalah candles". Also, that article doesn't say that Adam (or Eve, who isn't mentioned in connection with the lighting of the first fire) did a Havdalah.
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 2:46
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    @Michael I am not arguing that it has nothing to do with Havdalah. I was suggesting that the connection is not strong enough to infer doing Havdalah (and by extension, keeping Shabbat) from it.
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 2:43

4 Answers 4


We light a fire in havdalla to commemerate Adam making the first fire on motzai Shabbos. It's not mentioned anywhere that Adam lit a fire for the mitzva of havdalla. The Rosh on Torah says that on erev Shabbos, Adam didn't need to make a fire because it was light. The first time it got dark was motzai Shabbos. That was when Hashem taught Adam how to make a fire.


The 7th day, Sabbath, which began at Creation (Genesis 2:3) has NO instructions for mankind. It merely notes that God sanctified and blessed a specific day.

Did man even know about it? Was man commanded to observe the Sabbath in a prescribed manner? The Bible does not mention anything about Adam, Enoch, or Noah observing the Sabbath. There is also no mention that Adam lit a candle weekly, at the end of God's day of rest.

The first time that we find in Scripture, that man was commanded to observe the Sabbath, was post Exodus (Exodus 16), when God gave the Sabbath as a gift to the Children of Israel (and not to non-Jews).

This was followed at Sinai, where the Sabbath commandment is included in the Decalogue.

Exodus 31:16-17

  1. Thus shall the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL observe the Sabbath, to make the Sabbath throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant.
  2. Between Me and the children of Israel, it is forever a sign.

As per Exodus 31, a gentile who observes the Jewish Sabbath [in the manner that God intended it to be kept], is intruding into the private Covenant between God and the Children of Israel, and makes a mockery of the Word of God.


The divrei yoel in bereishit page ק"ו. And in the zemirot divrei yoel on shabbat night kiddush. Explains that the commandment for non jews to not keep shabbat is according to their days; i.e. day then night. The Jewish "day" is night then day. Basically non jews can keep the Jewish shabbat and still not be liable because they never kept shabbat according to their day. They worked Friday day and Saturday night, thus not completing a full day.

  • He got this from the Hafla'ah. See parshaponders.com/bo-5781/#_ftn19
    – robev
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 9:21
  • @robev good find. Thanks. Reb yoilish uses this concept to answer a different question, but I adapted it here to fit.
    – Shababnik
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 14:14

Adam and Eve did not observe Shabbat. If the patriarchs observed the Torah, the Torah would have mentioned it.

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    Do you hold the words of the gemara are true or they're up to debate?
    – Shlomy
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 20:20
  • @Shlomy judaism.stackexchange.com/q/53349/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 20:39
  • @Shlomy The gemara teaching was developed long after Adam.
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 23:02
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    With a tradition from Har Sinai.
    – Shlomy
    Commented Jan 5, 2022 at 0:46
  • Not sure how you can be so certain that the Torah would have mentioned it? There are plenty of things that the Torah doesn't mention? Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 17:56

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