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"High Sabbaths" are observed by Jews and some Christians.Seven annual Biblical festivals, called miqra ("called assembly") in Hebrew and "High Sabbath" in English and serving as supplemental testimonies to Sabbath, are specified in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy; they do not necessarily fall on weekly Sabbath.For if we rest in the work of Christ on the cross, then we can cease from our own works or self efforts in trying to make ourselves acceptable before God (Hebrews: 4:9–11), however the weekly Sabbath was still to be kept even after Jesus' ascension (Matthew ).Originally, Sabbath-breakers were officially to be cut off from the assembly or potentially killed (Exodus ).
The term has been used to describe a similar weekly observance in any of several other traditions; the first crescent or new moon; any of seven annual festivals in Judaism and some Christian traditions; any of eight annual pagan festivals (usually "sabbat"); an annual secular holiday; and a year of rest in religious or secular usage, the sabbath year, originally every seventh year.
Observance in the Hebrew Bible was universally from sixth-day sundown to seventh-day sundown (Nehemiah , cf.
Leviticus ), Sabbath corporate worship was not prescribed for the community at large and the Sabbath activities at the shrines were originally a convocation of priests for the purpose of offering divine sacrifices with family worship and rest being centered in homes.
During Shmita, the land is left to lie fallow and all agricultural activity, including plowing, planting, pruning and harvesting, is forbidden by Torah and Jewish law.
By tradition, other cultivation techniques (such as watering, fertilizing, weeding, spraying, trimming and mowing) may be performed as preventative measures only, not to improve the growth of trees or plants; additionally, whatever fruits grow of their own accord during that year are deemed hefker (ownerless), not for the landowner but for the poor, the stranger, and the beasts of the field; these fruits may be picked by anyone.
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Leviticus 25 promises bountiful harvests to those who observe Shmita, and describes its observance as a test of religious faith.