SHABBAT BERESHIT (Heb. שַׁבַּת בְּרֵאשִׁית, "the Sabbath of Genesis"), the first Sabbath after *Sukkot on which the new annual cycle of the Torah reading in synagogue begins (see also *Triennial Cycle), the previous cycle having been completed on *Simḥat Torah. Its name refers to the first word of the Bible "Bereshit" – "In the beginning." It is customary on this Sabbath to call to the Torah reading the person who acted on Simḥat Torah as Ḥatan Bereshit (see *Bridegrooms of the Law; *Torah, Reading of). The term "Shabbat Bereshit" in the above sense is fairly recent. In ancient sources this term refers to any Sabbath, as against other holidays which were also called "Sabbath." Similarly, the seventh year of Shemittah was called "Shabbat."
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.