Preparing for Shabbat
Getting ready for the arrival of the Sabbath Queen.
Before Shabbat begins, it is a custom to put some money into a pushke, a charity box. Nowadays, tzedakah (charity) being a bigger business, what with appeals, dinners, guests of honor, checks, and IRS deductions, this custom of slipping a few coins into a slotted tin box is of less impact. Yet, it is a sweet thing for children to observe, to do, and to learn from. And it's one more act associated with the special preparations for Shabbat.
Some people also are able to set aside time to meditate, or study quietly before Shabbat. These are wonderful ways to prepare spiritually for the day. My husband often studies his daily quota of Talmud right before Shabbat. Somehow, I never have the time or discipline to distance myself this way until the very last minute. Perhaps this is my conditioning as a woman who, like most women, has been largely responsible for the physical preparations in the home, and who gleans the sense of sacredness and holiness from those endeavors; but for those who can get themselves spiritually as well as physically ready, there is a different foretaste altogether of Shabbat.
In as much as one should review the biblical portion of the week at least once before it is read in shul [synagogue] on Shabbat morning, this is an excellent subject for quiet study on a Friday afternoon.
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