What does I don’t roll on Shabbos mean?

Answered by Edward Huber

“I don’t roll on Shabbos” is a quote from the character Walter Sobchak in the movie “The Big Lebowski.” In this context, “rolling” refers to playing a game of bowling. However, the phrase has taken on a broader meaning beyond the film and has become a popular expression among some Jewish individuals.

In Judaism, Shabbos, also known as Shabbat, is the weekly day of rest that begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday. It is considered a sacred day and is observed by Jews around the world. During this time, Jewish individuals are encouraged to refrain from engaging in certain activities in order to honor and observe the commandments of the Sabbath.

When someone says “I don’t roll on Shabbos,” they are expressing their commitment to observing the Sabbath and adhering to its restrictions. The phrase is often used humorously or in a lighthearted manner, but it underscores the seriousness with which some Jewish individuals approach the observance of Shabbos.

In the film, Walter Sobchak, portrayed by John Goodman, is a devout and somewhat eccentric Jewish character who takes the observance of Shabbos very seriously. He adamantly refuses to engage in any activities that are considered work or violate the Sabbath laws, which includes playing in a bowling league on Saturdays.

By saying “I don’t roll on Shabbos,” Walter is emphasizing his dedication to observing the Sabbath and his refusal to compromise his religious beliefs. It serves as a humorous catchphrase that highlights the clash between his strong religious convictions and the laid-back, carefree attitude of the other characters in the movie.

While the phrase has gained popularity in popular culture, it’s important to remember that its origin lies in the specific context of the film and the character of Walter Sobchak. However, it has since been adopted by some Jewish individuals as a light-hearted way of expressing their commitment to observing Shabbos and refraining from certain activities on the Sabbath.