While the notion of commemorating the divine rest associatedwith primordial creation would seem to bear universalimport, it is surely no coincidence that the mitspa of Shabbat was assigned solely to Am Yisrael and not to Benei Noah.' Moreover, not only is a gentile absolved of the obligation to observe Shabbat, he is actually enjoined from doing so. Hence, the talmudic dictum: "Goy she-shavat hayav mita"—"a gentile who rests [on the Sabbath] incurs the death penalty" (Sanhedrin 58b). That the mitsva of Shabbat, in particular, should be perceived in uniquely Jewish terms is evident from its designation as an ot—a sign—between HaKadosh Barukh Hu and Benei Yisrael, as highlighted in Parashat Ki Tisa: "Ki ot hi beni u-venekhem ledoro-tekhem. . . . Beni u-ven Benei Yisrael ot hi le-olam" (Exodus 31:13, 17).
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