by Rabbi Pinchus Jung
We’d like to think that the men in shul are preparing for Shabbas in the ideal way. The Chiddushei Horim says kabalas (welcoming the) Shabbas means creating the keilim — the ability, the receptacle — to really internalize the Shabbas. That’s what the davening on Friday night is for.
Women will probably not attend the davening, Therefore it would be worthwhile for them to try to wisely spend the time — it could be the best part of an hour easily — between when they light Shabbas candles and when they actually greet their husbands and say gut Shabbas as they return from shul.
So the question is do they have any plan in mind, what they're going to be doing in that time?
We will advise them to do something that is befitting for the spirit of Shabbas. They may wish to read a digest of the parsha of the week, or they might want to have a short shiur in Chofetz Chaim. They might simply say a bit of Tehillim, but rather than indulging in idle chatter and just letting the time go, the suggestion is to do something which will parallel what the husbands are doing at the same time so that both are involved in preparing for Shabbas.
Those who are going to use the time between lighting Shabbas candles and saying Kiddush will surely feel a difference in what the Shabbas is doing for them.
Welcoming the Shabbas means creating a receptacle to really internalize it
Those who find the Shabbas doesn’t really touch them, and that it’s more restrictions in activities than feeling some kind of elevation, would be advised particularly to try this and to try to choose something which is going to enhance the Shabbas and use that hour in a productive way.
Today there's so much material available — there are books in English about Shabbas, and there are books in English on the parsha as well — and that way there's little doubt that when it’s time to begin the Shabbas meal they’ll feel that they are in Shabbas mode and that the preparation will really make a difference to what follows.
With this we can upgrade our Shabbas and really gain so much more from the great gift Hashem has given us.