by Rabbi Pinchus Jung
In terms of bringing the Shabbas spirit home, let's remember, it’s unheard that the wife should say to her husband, “No, there's no challah this week, I’m sorry I didn’t have time to bake and I didn’t even have time to buy it.” Or that there should be no wine for Kiddush, or there should be no seudah the way it really ought to be, with the fish and the chicken soup and the whole familiar menu.
The woman would try her utmost and do whatever she can and more to ensure that every Shabbas without fail, there's a proper, delicious seudah as is appropriate for Shabbas Kodesh. Now we men have to do a parallel, after all Shabbas is a joint effort.
Let's try to ensure that that seudah at home is impact making, inspirational and enjoyable
We’re talking about bringing the real Shabbas atmosphere home from shul with you and the idea of treating every Shabbas as a special event, a special opportunity, not allowing it to slip into routine, becoming flat and dry.
Then Kiddush should be said in a mood of simcha; the words should be expressed loud and clear and with a bit of a niggun to it. It should also come across as a very important declaration of fundamentals of our emunah.
Also, every Shabbas has its parsha and we’re going to have to spend a little bit of time reviewing the parsha and carefully selecting some divrei Torah considering who our audience will be, young or old, learned or not learned, and find one or two observations, or maybe more, on the parsha that they can digest and appreciate and enjoy.
Boruch Hashem there's so much material out there today, in whichever language you choose. Just as your wife is very likely spending hours in the kitchen, preparing the seudah that we’re going to eat, is it not appropriate that we should spend those few minutes, not hours, finding something to share with the family at each seudah of Shabbas?
And it does require preparation! Just to read it straight of a parsha sheet, is maybe an instant solution, but it’s not going to have the same effect as being sure we’re familiar with the parsha, doing a bit of research and choosing something which we feel is carefully selected for the people who are going to be sitting around our table.
Along with that, of course: zemiros. Not everybody is musically gifted, but we can all do a little bit and of course the joy of Shabbas and the special flavor is very much reflected in the zemiros and the way we sing them.
Not all the girls and women are going to make it to shul and therefore the Shabbas for them is largely the seudah at home. Let's try to ensure that that seudah at home is impact making, inspirational and enjoyable, and that will provide them also with their deserved share of oneg shabbas and simchas hashabbas.