Recently I learned that in the service of Shabbat there are no petitions made to God, as it is believed God is also resting. Unfortunately I read this a few weeks ago, and cannot longer find the reference.

Anyway, my question is, do Judaism (or maybe only e.g. Orthodox) believe that in Shabbat God is also resting?

If this is the case however, when exactly would God be resting? Because there are hours of the day when it is Shabbat in say Australia but not in Canada, and vice versa.

Sorry the two questions together, but they are necessarily related.

PS: non Jew here.

  • The Bible does indeed state that God rested on the seventh day. But, many peoples, Jews included, incorrectly assume that the concept of REST assumes that it is forbidden for Jews to do WORK. This link gives an explanation of the 39 categories of ACTIVITY (MELOKHET) forbidden on the Sabbath: ou.org.s3.amazonaws.com/publications/kaplan/shabbat/39.htm . God may be “resting” on the Sabbath, but that most certainly does not mean that He is inactive. – JJLL Feb 23 '18 at 16:18

This seems to be a common misconception among many Jews also, so I'll try to address it as clearly as possible:

There are 2 separate parts to your question - 1. Why do we not make requests of G-d on Shabbos, and 2. Does G-d do work on Shabbos (and when does he consider it Shabbos)?

In regards to the first question, the reason why we don't make requests of G-d has nothing to do with whether or not he is "resting", but rather, as the Talmud Yerushali says in 'שבת פרק טו הלכה ג, that we do not make requests about our personal needs, with the exception of certain prayers (eg. אלוקי נצור וברכת המזון) whose language is set and identical to that of the rest of the week, is because making requests shows that one is lacking something, and has needs, which is a lack in מנוחה (roughly translated as rest, but includes a completeness).

This being said (that our lack of making requests of G-d on Shabbos has nothing to do with him, rather with us), G-d does, in fact, also "rest" on Shabbos (in regards to question 2). However, as Rebbi told the Emperor Antoninus in meseches Shabbos, while it does rain etc. on Shabbos, that is not G-d doing acts of creation (the true definition of melacha, "creative work"), but rather him moving things around in his own domain. There is no question of "somewhere in the world it is not Shabbos", as G-d refrains from doing melacha in each place when it is Shabbos there.


Firstly, with your comments about it being Shabbat at different times in different places, you are assuming G-d to be physical and finite and residing in one location (possibly Jerusalem).

We do say the phrase "Sab'einu Mituvecha" (satisfy us with your goodness) in the Shabbat prayer as well as in the weekday prayer (where it appears in Barech Aleinu, although some change the second word from "your goodness" to "its goodness" referring to the land).

The weekday prayer of Barech Aleinu is a prayer for material goodness - asking in particular for the land to yield crops and thus we also put in the prayer for rain in that blessing as that is part of the process of getting a good yield.

In the Shabbat prayer it is a spiritual goodness we are requesting - a good feeling so we can serve Hashem. (V'Taher Libeinu l'ovd'cha be'emet - purify our hearts to serve you in truth ).

So we do make requests but not in a material way, which requires "melacha".

Of course, rain does fall on Shabbat, and wind blows, and we still mention that in Atah Gibor, but we do not "request" this on Shabbat because we are supposed to take our mind off the physical acts.

We do not ask non-Jews to perform forbidden labour for us on Shabbat. And we don't ask G-d either.

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