Now we can explain the entire commandment. Our making kiddush, together with refraining from work and being “shoves,” are both necessary to reveal the holiness of Shabbos. If we would just refrain from work, it may have been simply to have a day off. And just making a proclamation that He is our Master, without demonstrating that it is real to us would also be meaningless. Therefore, we proclaim that Hashem created the world and is our Master. This makes us the mate of Shabbos, as we reveal her message.
This is why the amoraim viewed the shevisa aspect of Shabbos as their beloved bride. The fact that we stop everything each Shabbos makes it clear to us that we are in good hands. We don’t have a worry because Hashem is taking care of us. Over and over we reiterate in davening that Hashem has given us this day of Shabbos with love, as it is possible to feel Hashem’s closeness more than during the rest of the week.
R’ Yaakov Kaminetsky zt”l once said, “We won the battle in America to keep Shabbos, but we still have to fight the battle of Erev Shabbos!” How can we win this fight, at least in our own homes?
The first step is to make a list of things that need to be done and how long they will take – doing this is making inroads to winning half the battle. If we rev our engines and go into full speed without wasting time, we will be ready with plenty of time. And, as we explained in our previous article (Getting Ready for Shabbos – January 4), this in itself honors Shabbos.
The next step is to prepare ourselves for the actual acceptance of Shabbos. The Rambam writes (Shabbos 30:1) that a person should sit with “koved rosh”– serious contemplation – awaiting the coming of the Shabbos. The fact that we refrain from work is not enough. Rather, we must internalize the idea that we are now stopping all work for the sake of Hashem. We are placing ourselves in His Hands and view all our work as done. Then, when it comes to the long awaited moment of our chuppah with the Shabbos Queen, our hearts will be full of true joy. Finally, we are united with our Beloved One. A person who rushes into Shabbos like that silly chosson shows that he has missed the boat!
Even if we don’t manage this contemplation, let us at least make sure we always come to shul calmly and on time, allowing us to contemplate the words of Kabalas Shabbos and Lecha Dodi. And then, when we turn around and say “Bo’i Kallah, Bo’i Kallah,” let us do so with ecstasy! Hopefully, through all our preparations, we will truly feel that we are greeting our bride, the beloved Shabbos.
About the Author: Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus, raised and educated in Los Angeles and subsequently Yeshivas Toras Moshe in Yerushalayim, is the Rosh Kollel of the Zichron Aron Yaakov Kollel in Kiryat Sefer , Israel. He lectures for the public and is the director of the Chasdei Rivka Free Loan Gemach. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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