Question: Why do Jews observe a day of rest (Sabbath)?
Answer: Saturday is the official day of rest in Judaism. The Jewish Sabbath, called Shabbat in Hebrew, begins at sundown on Friday evening and end at sundown on Saturday evening. Observing a day of rest originated in the Bible.
According to the Bible, Genesis (2:1-3), God rested on the seventh day of creation.
In the Ten Commandments, Exodus (20:2-14) and Deuteronomy (5:12-15), the Sabbath is called a day of rest. Exodus 20:8-10 reads, "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord thy God on which you shall do no work."
Lastly, Exodus (31:16-17), reads "And the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath throughout the generations for a perpetual covenant ... for in six days the Lord created heaven and earth, and on the seventh He ceased from work and rested."
Rabbis later decided that observing the Sabbath as a day of rest was a way toward personal salvation.