I have always understood that the first creatin myth in Genesis uses a Jewish work week as it’s organizing structure of its theme, that te heavens and the earth are the “work” of God. There are three days of separation: Ligh/darkness, water above firmament/water below, water/dry land. Then three days of populating: Sun/moon/stars, birds/fish, animals/human beings. And then he rests on the Sabbath. It is my understanding that its significance is the basis for including it in Jewish writing, not the other way around. Why is the Sabbath day of rest so sacred to Jewish culture?
Oh no, it’s Friday! One more day and no Jew will see this!
Because it was so commanded by God Himself (Exodus 20 / Deuteronomy 5).
My thought as well
Rest is an essential part of the process of creating. A world of perpetual creation is a wolrd in perpetual flux, which is chaos, and would therefore make the world unpredictable and unliveable.
Sabbath teaches the lesson that we too need to make an effort to restrain from identifying too completely with our own desires to create.A day of sets us apart from equating life with pereptually creating through our work.
There is great significance behind the number “seven” and this can’t be really answered in a brief post. In the creation account the one day that stands apart from the rest is the seventh day. In the account of the prior six days, each of them have their evening and morning, but the seventh day has no end; it represents “divine rest”.
If we look at Genesis 21 we find Abraham and Abimelach (a Gentile) having a dispute about a well. In order to settle the dispute, concerning ownership of the well, the two enter into a covenant. Abraham brings seven ewe lambs as a witness to the covenant made between them. The name of the place where they swore the covenant oath was named “Beersheba”. “Beer” means well (the reason for their meeting) and “sheba” can mean both the number “seven” or the “oath” of a covenant. The “seven” lambs are the
sign of the covenant between Abraham and Abimelach.
A covenant is much more than an “agreement”, as we might think of how a dispute such as this would be settled in our modern times. It isn’t some purely degal document setting out the duties of each party and the consequences of a breach of the agreement. A covenant established a kinship bond between the parties. A well in that part of the world was literally a matter of life and death. No family bond existed between the two but this was a matter of such importance that one needed to be created and this was done through a covenant.
So God’s creation of the world in seven days is the sign of a covenant with all of creation and the seventh day is the holy day of divine rest
The Sabbath is the day of rest and refraining from doing routine tasks, even those that may not require much work. It represents a celebration of our peaceful state of simply being as distinguished from our usual identification with the hectic process of activity.
I don’t think the creation account is a myth - the teaching found in Genesis is that God created the world and all that’s in it out of nothing. The Sabbath was a Covenant sign between God and the Children of Israel. God commanded the Children of Israel to observe it - told them exactly HOW to observe it, such as being circumcised, etc.
Unlike some religions, Judaism does not teach separation from the material world. It is expected that for six days, people will be focused on their regular lives. The Sabbath serves a dual function. First, it gives people some time to decompress, to put aside worldly matters for a day. Second, it refocuses people on G-d. Much of the day is spent in prayer. It prevents people from becoming too wrapped up in worldly affairs.