This week I began to explore the idea of Chatzos, which means getting prepared for Erev Shabbos by noon on Friday.
It's a wonderful goal, and once it becomes a habit I know I'll be more peaceful and enjoy the menucha or peace of Shabbos easily at candle-lighting time.
It's a bit tricky during the winter months when sunset comes early...
"When all of the ideologies that were supposed to redeem us from our troubles have visibly and miserably failed, the Shabbat remains a beacon of light and hope for Israel and a symbol of our eternal covenant with our Creator."
The idea of preparing in advance is lovely, but often seems impractical, until we make it a priority. I WANT to make it a priority now. It's a way to show respect for the Sabbath, but also for myself.
When the food is prepared and the table is set by noon, or at least several hours prior to candle-lighting time, and I have bathed and put on fresh clothing, that is showing respect in all ways. It brings Shabbos all the way into Friday, making it last more than one day each week.
Chatzos is Shalom Bayit in action.
"The more the mental anticipation and actual preparation for Shabbos, the more one will taste Shabbos.
The more one will treasure it, will center one's life around it, the more one will be at ease on Shabbos.