The following is a collection of sources and Rabbinic encouragement for Chatzos, taken from member posts:
Excerpt from the article “Getting Ready for Shabbos Early” by Rabbi Baruch Leff, featured in the Yated 11/4/2016
The Pnei Menachem quoted his father, the Imre Emes, who said that getting ready for Shabbos early is a special merit and segulah to help children who have gone off the drench return to Torah. By adding more kedushah of Shabbos to the home, one increases holiness and purity to the family. This has the potential spiritual power to counteract some of the impurities that a child may have engaged in and bring him closer to purity. The more we widen the boundaries of kedushah, the more narrow the territory of tumah becomes. This is the power of tosefes Shabbos.
The Pnei Menachem quoted the Gemara which says that each the three daily prayers corresponds to one of the three Avos (and that each one actually devised that tefillah). Shacharis corresponds to Avrohom, Minchah corresponds to Yitzchok, and Maariv corresponds to Yaakov. But who does Mussaf correspond to? The Pnei Menachem said in the name of the Arial that Mussaf relates to Yosef. Both words, Mussaf and Yosef, have roots that mean additional. Yosef merited to be called hatzaddik by Chazal due to his ability to overcome the challenges of a lack of holiness and of impurity in Egypt. Yosef did something ‘extra’ that other Torah personalities in the Torah did not do, and Mussaf is an ‘extra’ prayer recited most often on Shabbos. (Of course it is said on Rosh Chodesh and Yom Tov as well). Tosefes Shabbos is another way to do something more for Shabbos by infusing the weekdays with keduhas Shabbos.
Even if one does not actually accept Shabbos earlier than the regular time regarding melachah, being ready for Shabbos and being calm as Shabbos enters is certainly an inspect within the realm and spirit of tosefes Shabbos.
In the Mishpacha Sukkos 5775 Supplement, there was an article written about Rav Yitzchak Yosef, the sixth son of Rav Ovadiah, ztz’l, which mentioned their practice to prepare for Shabbos early:
In the Yosef home, Shabbos is in the air all week long. Enter the house on Wednesday and the table is already set. Rabbanit Ruth Yosef relates that she’s perpetuating the minhag she learned in the home of her father Rav Rachamim Attiya – one of the distinguished rabbanim in the Nachlaot neighborhood and a talmid of Rav Mordechai Sharabi – who directed his children to receive Shabbos as early as possible, as if anticipating royalty. “My dear children,” her father would say, “if you want Hashem to shower you with blessing, be exceedingly careful with the honor of Shabbat. Set the table already on Wednesday, and spend your whole week preparing for Shabbat, which is the very source of bracha.”
“After we got married,” relates the Rabbanit, “Rav Yitzchak told me that this is a minhag with solid foundations. He showed me that many of the mekubalim write about how special it is to receive Shabbat from Wednesday and how it draws the light of Shabbat into the entire week.”
From Rabbi Tzvi Meir Zilberberg:
There is a famous teaching from Chazal that if Klal Yisroel keep two Shabosos in a row they will be NIGAL redeemed. These refer to any two consecutive Shabosos in the year.
However these two Shabosos, Beshalach which we kept two days ago and Yisro – next Shabbos are the original two Shabosos that so to speak flank the original Geula in the middle of them. They accompany the Geula like the parents walk the child down the Chuppa, one parent on each side. It is from this occurence that Chazal derive the teaching mentioned above.
He finishes by saying that this particular week one should get ready for the next Shabbos – Yisro starting on Sunday! Yom Rishon L Shabbos. Keeping Chatzos this week heralds the Geula more than any other week because there is a precedent for it.
One of our members, Roiza Weinreich, tells over her experience visiting Rebbetzin Kolodesky (Rebbetzin Kanievsky ZT”L’s daugther) in Bnei Brak:
Just back from Israel. I visited Reb. Kolodetsky on Thursday. At the Hafrashas Challa she spoke about the importance of waiting for Shabbos.
Rav Shteinman Shlita said that Kedushas Shabbos begins from Chatzos. Many women run to light the candles at the last moment or after the last minute. This is very wrong. Those women who are ready 10 minutes before and wait for Shabbos and show her love and respect will gain the reward of all those who should honor Shabbos. Because they atone for the others.The prayers and requests of those 10 minutes will be answered-that’s Rav Shteinman Shlita’s promise.
I stood on line after and told Rebbetzin Kolodetsky about the
Chatzos group. She was happy excited and proud and blessed us that we grow larger.
I also told her that I have been doing the ten minutes with my daughter for a year and my daughter is a kalla and thank you.
This made her so happy.
A person was having some issues in his life so he traveled to Eretz Yisrael to get advice and a berocho from Maran Hagan Reb Aharon Leib Steinman Shlit’a.
Reb Aharon Leib told him that there is one solution that can save a person from all troubles – to be mechazek in Shmiras Shabbos. “Be prepared early in anticipation for Shabbos Kodesh, it is a tried and tested seguloh that works for all problems” he said, adding that the only known ‘seguloh’ to be ready early for Shabbos, is to actually begin the Shabbos preparations as early as possible in the day.
An intriguing article in last week’s Mishpacha magazine about the holy Rebbetzin of Toldos Avraham Yizchak, mother of 16 children, is a strong proponent of chatzos. This is what she says in the article about her, printed in the 5774 Rosh Hashana edition:
Every shabbos, I prepare a pot of cholent large enough to feed between 100 to 150 people. I also prepare about 100 pounds of challah.” The Rebbetzin’s Shabbos preperations all take place on Thursday; by ten o’clock on Friday morning, everything is everyday. “At that point, I sit and simply wait for the Shabbos Queen.”
Many of us can’t fathom the ability to be ready for Shabbos so early. Mothers of small children especially often find the countdown to candlelighting very stressful. The Rebbetzin laughs. “In my home, it’s the opposite. It was when I had small children at home that it was easier to get ready for Shabbos. In those days, my table was already set on Thursday night, and when the Rebbe came home, he would often say, “I might make a mistake and think it’s Shabbos today.”
“In general,” she adds, “having the Shabbos table set before midday on Erev Shabbos is a segulah to have righteous sons-in-law. When I was a mother of small children, I was concerned that I might not be able to set it in time, by midday Friday, so I decided to be extra careful and begin setting the Shabbos table every week on Thursday.”
In Rabbi Frand’s Parsha email on Parshas Ki Sisa, he included the famous story about the Chofetz Chaim and Chatzos, with full details. Click here to read the full story- it is absolutely beautiful and worthwhile reading!
It is brought in the Sefer Maleches Shabbos: קבלת שבת מוקדם סגולה” “לפרנסה- Bringing in Shabbos early is a segulah for parnassah
The sefer סוד השם writes: When a person is careful to bring in Shabbos early and to delay the end of Shabbos, Hashem repays him מדה כנגד מדה:
בזכות שהוא הרחיב את גבול הקדושה, את גבול השבת, וצמצם את גבול צר של זמן החול, בזכות זה אם יבוא לו פעם עת צר יקרא אל ד’ וירחיב לו ד’ מצרתו ויזכה לנחלה בלי מצרים
(Loosely translated: In the merit that he widened the boundary of Kedusha, the boundary of Shabbos, and narrowed the boundary of ‘tzar’ of the weekday. In this merit, if there comes a time of difficulty, he will call to Hashem and He will widen him for his difficulty and will have the merit of a portion without constraints).
A person was having some issues in his life so he traveled to Eretz Yisrael to get advice and a berocho from Maran Hagan Reb Aharon Leib Steinman Shlit’a. Reb Aharon Leib told him that there is one solution that can save a person from all troubles – to be mechazek in Shmiras Shabbos. “Be prepared early in anticipation for Shabbos Kodesh, it is a tried and tested seguloh that works for all problems” he said, adding that the only known ‘seguloh’ to be ready early for Shabbos, is to actually begin the Shabbos preparations as early as possible in the day
Excerpt from the Hakhel Daily email, 26th Shvat 5773:
TODAY’S KAVOD SHABBOS! Chazal (Shabbos 119A) teach that there was an extremely wealthy person in the city of Ludkaya who explained how he had become wealthy: “I was a butcher, and when I came upon a nice animal I would say: ‘I will use this for Shabbos’.” Upon reflection, we are all able to follow in the footsteps of this Ludkaya resident–whose words made it into the Gemara itself! Whenever going shopping one should think about what nice thing he can purchase for Shabbos. Not only may it be a Segulah for wealth–even more importantly when one utters the words: “I am buying/doing this in honor of Shabbos”, he fulfills a Mitzvas Asei in the Torah of Zachor Es Yom HaShabbos LeKadesho (which we were reminded about in last week’s Parsha). Now, this is a great daily habit to get into!
Hakhel Note: In discussing this ba’al habayis from Ludkaya, the Gemara relates that when food was first brought before him, he would recite the Pasuk (Tehillim 24:1): “לה’ הארץ ומלואה, תבל ויושבי בה …the earth and its fullness belongs to Hashem.” When the remaining food would be taken away from before him, he would recite the Pasuk (Tehillim 115:16): “השמים שמים לה’ והארץ נתן לבני אדם…as for the heavens, the heavens are Hashem’s, but the earth He has given to mankind.” Rashi (ibid.) explains that with these words he acknowledged that it was only by the gift of Hashem that he ate and benefited in this wonderful way. These two special Pesukim recited by Dovid HaMelech, when respectively thought of or recited before a bracha rishona and bracha achrona over food could certainly provide a greater appreciation of the bracha one is about to recite–and the impetus to make it more potent and more meaningful!
An excerpt from Hamodia’s tribute to Mirrer Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel ZT”L (‘In his Own Words’ by Rabbi Tuvia Freund)
“The second appointment was on a Friday afternoon. In the Rosh Yeshiva’s home everything was ready for Shabbos; from Chatzos on, Rav Nosson Tzvi was sitting and learning. He once again greeted me warmly and invited me to sit down at the already set Shabbos table.”
I heard a shiur from Harav Ahron Toisig. He said the following:
“You will find in all Jewish homes a similar scene. Shortly before Shabbos, even if everything was ready since Chatzos…. something has to go wrong. A child hits the other, the baby wakes up from his nap when he is supposed to sleep another hour, a child spills a drink, your husband’s button comes off NOW…. why is this???
The Satan can’t watch Hashem’s dear children getting ready for such a great day when Hashem comes into our homes! Now, he knows he won’t be able to make us not keep Shabbes. So he tries to satisfiy himself by at least bringing anger, impatience or any other negativity into the home.
If you can recognize the Satan it is much easier to combat him… it isn’t the child who wasn’t careful with the drink – it is the Satan!!!! It isn’t the baby who made a nappy that needs top-to-toe changing – but the Satan! It isn’t your child who woke up on his left side from his Friday nap – it is the Satan!
Sometimes, when the kids are cranky or fighiting… I tell them “Kids, did you see who just came in??? They all perch up their ears… “the Satan just came and he wants to make Mummy angry and you kids fighting and crying… do you think we could show him how great we are and we will all be calm now?” It often works… specially with their mother who knows to be much more on guard…
On 7 Elul, HaRav HaGoan Rav Feivel Schneebalg Shlita, one of Monsey’s most respected Rabbonim, spoke in Yiddish on the Ko Somar line, about the importance of being ready for Shabbos by Chatzos. To hear the recording in Yiddish, dial 845-352–8834, then press #1 and then #3. Click here to read the full translation of his speech. In this amazing speech, he elaborates how being ready for Shabbos by Chatzos is a crucial part of honoring Shabbos properly.
Rav Schneebalg Shlita is one of the most respected older Dayonim in Monsey. He has his own kollel, Kollel Kehal Avreichem. The Schneebalg family is famous for their Rabbonim. Rav Schneebalg Shlita’s father is Rav Schneebalg from Manchester, England.
In Megillas Esther, Perek 2, Passuk 9, it says about Esther HaMalka:
“וְאֵת שֶׁבַע הַנְּעָרוֹת הָרְאֻיוֹת לָתֶת-לָהּ מִבֵּית הַמֶּלֶךְ”
“Along with the seven maids from the palace”
The Chachomim say that each maid came on a set day and that in this manner Esther kept track of the days of the week (Megilla 13a)
According to Targum, she assigned them names representing each day.
Why did she do this? As far as we know she was not kept in isolation, so why did she not keep track of the week in a regular manner?
The answer is that Esther wished to perform mitzvos at every opportunity. She decided to use the maids to fulfil the mitzvah of remembering the Shabbos.
According to Ramban (Parshos Yisro 20.8) this mitzvah applies during the entire week. “It is a mitzvah to always remember Shabbos everyday and never to forget it nor confuse it with another day… This is an important tenet of faith in H-shem”
The following was in an article in Mishpacha’s Family First about Rebbetzin Zipa Lopian, A”H, wife of R’ Leib Lopian ZT”L who was the Rosh Yeshiva in Gateshead Yeshiva:
“Shabbos preparations began on Tuesday so that Shabbos was welcomed in an atmosphere of calm anticipation. Her daughter Rebbetzin Keller once asked jokingly why she didn’t begin on Sunday if she wanted to be so organized. ‘On Sunday’, her mother replied, ‘you can still feel the kedushah of the past Shabbos’, bringing as proof that Havdalah can still be recited until Tuesday.”
The following is excerpted from Shelah HaKadosh, who writes: (In מסכת שבת, פרק נר מצוה, סימן ל”ב)
“ומדת חסידות וקדושה יתירה היא להיות מוכנים לצורך שבת במלאכות כבדות בחצות…
וסימנך ,”לא תעשו כל מלאכה” כי בהתחלת קדושה מחצות ואילך ובתוספת שעה במוצאי שבת שצריך להוסיף מקודש אל החול, הרי ל”א שעות…וסימנך “חסד א-ל כל היום” (תהילים נ”ב:ג) כי יום השבת צריך להיות כולו בחן ובחסד ובשלום ובאהבה רבה, כי בו שובתים אפילו רשעים שבגהנם.ועל כן עבירה כפולה היא מי שמראה כעם בשבת, וכבר נתנו סימנים “לא תבערו אש בכל מושבותיכם ביום השבת (שמות ל”ה:ג) והוא אש המחלוקת וחימום הכעם. ויהיה נזהר בזה בזהירות גדול מחצות (ערב) שבת ואילך, שהוא ל”א שעות , וזהו “לא תבערו אש” וגו. וילך לבית הכנסת בשמחה ויתפלל באהבה ובדביקות, וכל שכן בקדושת שבת עצמו שיהיה באהבה רבה.”
It is an added measure of piety and holiness to be fully prepared for Shabbos by midday, having finished all heavy labor….
A hint towards this manner of conduct is the word “לא”, “[you] shall not,” which is included in all the prohibitions of Shabbos. When one counts the entire sanctified time of Shabbos, including the time from noon on Erev Shabbos as well as the additional hour added on Motzai Shabbos, this is 31 hours – equal to the numerical value of the word “לא”…. Additionally, the פסוק in תהילים states, “חסד א-ל כל היום”, once again using a word with gematria of 31 to show that the entire day of Shabbos must be full of grace, kindness, peace, and love; for on Shabbos, even the wicked denizens of Hell rest from their travails!
Therefore, it is a double transgression to show anger on Shabbos. It is well-known that the פסוק which states, “You shall not burn a fire in your dwelling-places on Shabbos,” refers allegorically to the fire of discord and the heat of anger. As such, one should be extremely cautious starting from Friday noon, for a full 31 hours, to uphold this precept. A man should attend shul with joy and pray with both love and attachment. Certainly on the holy day of Shabbos itself, one should be filled with great love!
The Shabbos before Hurricane Irene, while many of the community Rabbonim were away, there was a lot of panic and misinterpretation of Halacha regarding the evacuations that were supposed to take place on Shabbos. Our Rav, Rabbi Forst Shlita, said that if Chilul Shabbos was allowed to take place in our community then we need to all have a tikkun in Kavod Shabbos. The Rav suggested that we come into Shabbos without rushing (“Why is everyone racing until the last minute even on the long summer fridays?”). We should set the shabbos table early Friday morning or even Thursday night so that when the children wake up there should already be an aura of shabbos in the house!
This appeared in the readers write section of the Yated:
During 5750 and 5751, the mashgiach of Lakewood, Rav Nosson Wachtfogel zt”l, constantly repeated, “Mir halten shoin bai chatzos.”
An explanation of his statement is that the Gemara tells us that the world is in existence for 6000 years. These correspond to the six days of creation. The seventh period of a thousand years is the Shabbos of the world’s existence.
The beginning of the year 5001 is the beginning of Friday (sunset of thursday evening). The next 500 years are the night and and 5501 corresponds to the sunrise on Friday morning. The second 500 years are teh daytime hours of Friday daytime. Therefore, the year 5751 was what the mashgiach referred to as chatzos of Friday.
if each 1000 years is divided into 48 half-hours, each half-hour spans 20.8333 years. The calculation of the fraction, into a number of days, will vary depending on the solar or lunar calendars (with or without the leap month of Adar). When I tried to figure out when a half-hour after chatzos is, my calculations resulted in Tammuz 17, Taummuz 24 and the fourth of Av of this year.
This means that by the 4th of Av, we will be at the Minchah Gedolah of creation.
I appeal to Klal Yisroel not to lengthen their mundane Friday activities up to the last minute, but rather to begin preparing for Shabbos by Minchah Gedolah. The same way that we can bring Shabbos into our homes early Friday afternoon should be me’orer Shomayim to hasten the geulah bekorov at this time of Mincha Gedolah.
– A Talmid of the Mashgiach zt”l
The Koidenover Rebbe shlita from Bnei Brak came to South Africa to be mechazek the community. He stayed in our home. When he heard that I requested that we should try to finish our preparations by Chatzos, he said that was a very choshuve minhag. Throughout Shabbos he made a few complimentary comments about this and he was very encouraging!
- Shuli Mirkin, South Africa
Rabbi Dov Keilson, Mashgiach of Mesivta Chaim Shlomo, writes in an article about the Neshama Yeseira:
Rav Miller, zatzal, explains that the more one in-vests in sanctifying the Shabbos, the more Neshama Yesei-rah he will receive. How special and meaningful would it be for us to try and have our homes ready so much earlier for Shabbos. Imagine the aura that it brings to a home when a dining room table is already set on Friday morning when the children leave for school. Imagine how much kedusha fills the home when mothers and daughters sing Lecha Dodi together. The more we invest in Shabbos, the more of Shabbos we will receive. Besiyata DiShmaya.
Your special group reminded me of something I once saw in the Sefer Charedim (written approx during the era of the Arizal). The gemara says that anyone who does onemitzva, is worthy of many great benefits. The question is what does onemitzvah mean? The Charedim explains that every person should accept upon himself one special mitzvah that he will perform with all of his strength, and total dedication, in its most desirable form. Such a person is guaranteed, through his absolute devotion to his one special mitzvah, to become a tzadik in all areas!!! Hashem gave us many mitzvahs, so that each person can find at least one mitzvah that he will love and be able to perform with complete dedication.
Your group has chosen Shabbos and your dedication is absolutely inspiring! It is apparent, from the constant updated emails, what a tremendous impact this mitzvah is having on your entire week, and all areas of life!
Its exciting to witness the nashim tzidkaniyos in our generation.
In the zechus of greeting Shabbos early and with love, may we merit to greet the final redemption, yom shekulo Shabbos, quickly and “early.”
It is most definitely not a mitzvah, according to Rav Galinskyat Mishpacha, meaning not one of the 613. BUT, the Rambam definitely said that it is proper to receive the Shabbos Queen sitting quietly, awaiting her coming. MANY people hold by not preparing food after chatzos.
So, while it is not a proper mitzvah, it is an admirable thing to do. We are supposed to bring in Shabbos in tranquility, which, in my experience, is not really possible when you still haven’t found the wicks for the lecht or HAVE to make that techina that someone forgot to buy and you just got told (G-d forbid you should live without it one Shabbos…) or are cleaning the floors after the siren goes off. [ in Yerushalayim we “get” 40 minutes from the siren to shkiya, which gives the yetzer a lot of room to work... unlike the 18 mins of chu”l and outside of Y-m.]
And the beauty of Azriela’s “shitah” is that we ARE told by Chazal to think of “Sunday” as yom rishon l’Shabbos – the first day to Shabbos – and so on to Shabbos (Monday is the second day to Shabbos, etc.). We ARE supposed to be thinking about Shabbos every day.
There is a famous story, I forget the details, about a Yid who buys a choice zach for Shabbos and when he finds a choicer zach, he eats the first and saves the other for Shabbos instead. We ARE supposed to think EVERY DAY about Shabbos.
Hashem should give us the strength to overcome the Satan that comes and busies us with non-Shabbos activities!
Someone told my daughter that she went to hear Rabbi Yissachar Frand give a keynote address to hundreds of people (pre-holiday chizzuk) and the subject was Shabbos and as part of his speech he talked about reading this amazing article in Mishpacha Magazine family first about bringing Shabbos in by Chatzos and that it is a very high madrega. How cool is that?!!!
Well, Ladies, Rabbi Frand called, at my request. I emailed him that I was the woman he’s been talking about from the podium, and I’d love to tell him about our Chatzos group. We just had a half hour conversation. Are you sitting down. . . . He loves Chatzos, he believes in it whole heartedly, and has been speaking about it around the world since his sister in law faxed him my article that she read in family first. He wants me to write something about the power of Chatzos which he will reference from the podium, and he is going to encourage anyone listening to contact me directly if they wish to join our group. He is helping us to spread Chatzos around the world.
R’ Avrohom Pam, ZTZ”L
A Rabbi just told me this true story when he was commenting to me about hearing about our group in Rabbi Frand’s shiur. He is aware of the truth of this story because his family is connected to Rav Pam. Rav Pam was expected at his grandson’s sheva brachas. The driver came to get him and arrived five minutes after the chatzos time. Rav Pam would not leave with the driver, stating, “I do not drive anywhere after chatzos.” He missed his grandson’s sheva brachas, because he wouldn’t budge on this commitment. Now, that’s a commitment to chatzos! I know that some people on the list would not agree with this decision, and that’s not for us to debate. What’s awesome is to know that a man as great as Rav Pam was committed to chatzos too!
A great Chatzos Story about Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch of Riminov:
I read a story in Chasidic Masters. Rav Tzvi Hirsh of Riminov had become a widower. A girl came and asked for a blessing for a shidduch. He asked about her parents and where she lived. Then he proposed a match. He suggested that the girl marry him! The girl agreed. The parents were contacted and they finalized the match. Rav Tzvi Hirsh explained. I was orphaned when I was young and I was apprenticed to a tailor. I would pick up cloth and deliver finished garments to customers. I went several times to a family to bring their repaired Shabbos clothes on Friday morning. Everything was ready for Shabbos. The table was set. The house was spotless. The father of the house reviewed the parsha of the week at the table. When I came he always had the money he owed ready unlike other customers who would tell me to come back for payment. He would say, “I am now fulfilling the mitzva of paying a worker on time.” That house felt like Shabbos already on Friday. I had always wished that I could somehow be a part of that family. That’s why I want to marry their daughter.
Rabbi Shmuel Birnbaum ZTZ”L
About three years ago my daughter-in-law and some of her acquaintances were concerned for a friend who was married for over five years and had no children. One of them went to Rav Shmuel Birnbaum ZT”L,their rosh yeshiva, and asked what could be done for this couple. He said that Shabbos is mekor habrocho and they should take on to set the table for Shabbos by chatzos and to accept Shabbos (bentch licht) 12minutes early. They all accepted to do it and they did it until she became pregnant. (I believe they did it for several months). Hearing of this my daughter wanted to gather a group to do that as azechus for her friend who had no children after many years of marriage. It was hard recruiting people to make the commitment and Itold her that I would also join the group. Everyone was supposed toset the table by chatzos and bentch licht and accept shabbos 12minutes early. This was done until b’h her friend became pregnant. Bichasdai Hashem, each of these ladies now have a child. Ever since then I have tried to continue setting the table by chatzos and lighting candles early but usually don’t make the goal. Setting the table by chatzos is very defined and makes the 12 minutes easier. Thinking in terms of finishing all preparations by chatzos is a further step. Please include me with your emails and tips. Yasher kochachem – may you go from chayil el chayil and may all your tefillos be answered litova!
Excerpt from the “Halacha of the week, A feature of the BJSC Daily Halacha Shiur”:
ANTICIPATING SHABBOS ISSUES
Beginning on Wednesday – the second half of the week – one should not initiate an action that is likely to impact upon his ability to observe and to enjoy Shabbos. Thus – unless compelled to do so by a Mitzvah – one should not embark on sea travel during this part of the week, as it will likely lead to compromise in the observance of Shabbos due to the conditions at sea, as well as to a reduced enjoyment of Shabbos as the traveler begins to adjust to seasickness(see OC 248:1).A more common and practical application of this idea would be with regard to scheduling medical procedures. There is no question that any needed procedure that is time sensitive should be performed at the first and best opportunity, whatever the day of the week. Likewise if the schedule of the most suitable doctor has him performing this procedure only towards the end of the week, one should proceed according to his schedule. However when a procedure can be scheduled at the patient’s convenience it would be appropriate not to schedule it in the latter part of the week, as this could affect the patient’s observance of Shabbos if follow up treatment is needed, and could certainly affect the enjoyment of Shabbos as the patient would be feeling the effects of the procedure on Shabbos itself (see Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchaso32:33).
Excerpt from R’ Boruch Leff’s book, Shabbos in my Soul
I’m excerpting a few sections from the book, found in the chapter entitled, Becoming an Erev-Shabbos Jew (pages 40-44):
… today, thank G-d, we have many Sabbath-observant Jews… but how many erev-Shabbos Jews are there? Jews who passionately yearn for Shabbos throughout the week are hard to find. Yes, many observe the halachos of Shabbos with much devotion, but few strive to inject avodah shebaleiv, true service of the heart, into their shemiras Shabbos. This can only come from feeling great anticipation for Shabbos. At the very least, on erev Shabbos, we should be yearning for Shabbos. … An ‘erev-Shabbos Jew’ is what the Ba’al HaTurim had in mind in a letter to his children: All agricultural work, the plowing and planting is done in order tobring forth fruit. Similarly, all that a person does to take care ofhis body is done in order to sustain the soul’s existence in this world. The daily fruit of the soul are the times of prayer, and the weekly fruit of the soul is Shabbos. The Ba’al HaTurim is describing the experience of Shabbos as the ultimate goal for all activities of the week. The erev-Shabbos Jew knows and lives this ideal. An erev-Shabbos Jew, a Jew who fervently yearns for Shabbos.
How can one reach such a level? One method to attain this spiritual level is to remind oneself of Shabbos as much as possible. The Chafetz Chaim writes that even when one refers to an event that took place in the previous week he should say, “Before Shabbos, on Thursday…” instead of just saying, “last Thursday,” in order to mention Shabbos. He also writes that there was a certain Torah giant who would somehow manage to relate the topic of Shabbos to his regular Gemara shiur, so that he would fulfill the mitzvah to remember Shabbos every day.
Of course, in order to become erev-Shabbos Jews we need to understand the value and significance of erev Shabbos in its own right. Minhag Yisrael Torah cites Mishmeres Shalom who says that it is proper to eat a little meat on erev Shabbos, because the sanctity of Shabbos isme’urav, combined with, and spills into erev Shabbos. Hence, the name erev, meaning “mixed.” In addition, erev Shabbos is similar to erevYom Kippur, because the Gemara states, “Whoever observes Shabbos properly is forgiven for his sins, even if his sins include idol worship.” Just like there is a mitzvah to eat on erev Yom Kippur, erev Shabbos has a similar feature. Now, it is certainly not a halachic obligation to eat meat or even more than our usual fill on erev Shabbos. In fact, one must be careful not to overeat in order to have an appetite for the se’udah on Friday night, but the sources cited do give us a perspective on the prominence that erev Shabbos should be accorded. Perhaps the most important area to concentrate on when trying to become an erev-Shabbos Jew is how to use our time and set ourschedules on erev Shabbos itself.
Let us take a peek at how some of our Torah giants arranged their erev Shabbos. Rav Yechezkel Abramsky would make sure to have his table set for Shabbos already on Friday morning. Rav Mordechai Sharabiwould sit down to learn the weekly parashah right after davening on Friday morning. He would then go to buy fresh challos, and then immerse in the mikveh. He would also avoid speaking about mundane matters throughout erev Shabbos. The Netziv, the Chafetz Chaim, Rav Elya Lopian, and the Steipler Gaon, among others, were all known to immerse themselves in a mikveh on erev Shabbos. The Maggid of Kelm, Rav Moshe Yitzchak HaDarshan, and the Brisker Rav, Rav Yitzchak Soloveitchik, would both treat chatzos as if it were the time at which Shabbos began. From then on, they would not contemplate worldly matters, and the spirit of Shabbos permeated their homes. Rav Chaim Ozer would never sit and judge cases on Friday afternoon. The Steipler Gaon would not write on Friday afternoon. Rav Aryeh Levin would not open letters that he received on Friday afternoon, lest there be some information in the letters that might worry him over Shabbos.
It is true that we can’t fully emulate these Torah leaders. We have jobs and responsibilities on erev Shabbos that preclude us from having the freedom to spend all day in spirituality. But perhaps we can muster the strength to accept Shabbos a half-hour earlier than regular candle lighting time or, at the very least, ten minutes earlier. RavYaakov Weinberg, ztz’l, rosh yeshivah of Ner Yisrael, Baltimore, would often advise people to accept Shabbos upon themselves ten minutes before candle lighting time. In this way, when Shabbos comes in we arein a calm state of mind, rather than in a frenzy. Perhaps we can start taking care of all Shabbos preparations as soonas possible, rather than waiting until the Friday afternoon rush. Maybe we can eliminate our procrastination, at least when it comes toerev Shabbos. Then, we would have time to sit and learn a little before Shabbos or read stories to our kids. People who have begun arranging their erev Shabbos schedules in this fashion have testified to the sanctity they feel when Shabbos comes in. By taking steps toward a meaningful erev Shabbos, by becoming erev-Shabbos Jews, we set the stage for a powerful and meaningful Shabbos.
Rav Moshe Weinberger and the Yetzer Harah
My Rav, Rav Moshe Weinberger once said that the Yetzer Harah works overtime on Erev Shabbos, so when things go wrong, or I feel like Iwill “lose it” I try to remember that there is something there putting the obstacles in front of me, ie. husband running late, kids getting a little out of control, things spilling… I make it like a game, that I will win.
The following is quoted directly from Shabbat Kodesh, about Rav Shimshon Pincus zt”l, page 292:
The Rav’s special efforts and concern to honor Shabbos Kodesh applied every Shabbat of the year. Even on Shabbosos when most people cut corners, he would not diminish the honor of Shabbos in any way.
For instance, one of the Rav’s neighbors recounts that on erev Shabbat HaGadol, which fell that year on 11 Nisan, his wife happened to meet Rebbetzin Pincus.
Their conversation was naturally drawn to the topic of Pesach preparations. This woman asked the Rebbetzin if the Pincus’s stove was already clean and kosher for Pesach.
The answer she received caught her unexpectedly: “Is the stove kosher for Pesach?! How could it be kosher already on erev Shabbos HaGadol? We still need to bake cakes lichvod Shabbos Kodesh!” As theRav would say, “Why should Shabbos suffer just because it’s close to Pesach?”(He must be shepping nachat from the recent Chatzot mail!)
For this reason, he would not use paper plates on Shabbos, even on Shabbos HaGadol. “This Shabbos is no different from any other,” he insisted. “We must honor Shabbos just as we do during the rest of the year. Disposable dishes aren’t fitting for kevod Shabbos,” he emphasized. In their last years, to ease their Pesach preparations, the Rav and his family ate their Shabbos HaGadol meals in a small hall near their home. But even then, they never compromised the honor of Shabbos Kodesh. The Shabbos delicacies were plentiful and served on regular dishes, as on every Shabbos, since “Shabbos need not suffer just because it’s close to Pesach.” Furthermore, in the Rav’s home, Friday was completely dedicated to preparing for Shabbos. One family member tells of a certain Friday early in Nissan when Shabbos preparations were finished earlier than expected. The Rebbetzin decided to take advantage of the time and make some progress with the Pesach cleaning. She asked the girls to go through one of the cabinets and clean out any chametz. The girls were happily working-until their father found out. “On erev Shabbos, we don’t do anything that’s not connected to preparing for Shabbos,” he told them. “Not even lichvod Pesach. On erev Shabbos, we only prepare for Shabbos!”
Once, Reb Yehuda Tzvi, the grandson of the great R’ Chaim of Tzanzwas in attendence at the seudas mitzvoh (meal) following a circumcision together with his grandfather. Rebbi Chaim was honored to say some words of Torah Since it was a Wedenesday afternoon, and it is known from the Holy Arizal (Rabbi Yitzckok Luria Ashkenazi of Safed that on Wednesday the light of the coming Shabbos can already be felt in the world, he began to expound on the holiness of the Shabbos. R’ Chaim became so excited and emotionally charged speaking about the holiness of the Sabbath day, that when he finished he called out to those at the table, “Shabbes Shalom, Shabbes Shalom!!
R’ Yehuda Tzvi got the impression from all of this that indeed the Shabbos was soon to be arrive. He quickly ran home to get his special white clothes, and headed for the mikveh (ritual bath), to wash himself in honor of the Shabbos. Along the way he met another young man who had heard R’ Chaim of Tzanz speak about Shabbos, and he too was on his way to the mikveh to wash in honor of Shabbos. They joyously made their way together to the mikveh, but when they arrived they saw that no one else was there. They then understood that the excitement of the Tzanzer Rebbe had caused them to think that Shabbos was about to come.
Rav Sholom Meir Wallach, Shlita, relates the story of the American rabbi who visited Eretz Yisrael, landing on Erev Shabbos. Hot, tired and very thirsty, he sought a cold drink. Being a distinguished rav meant that he could not stand in the middle of the street drinking a can of soda. He noticed a grocery store, went in and asked for a cold drink. The proprietor, an elderly Jew who was clearly not a native born Israeli, asked, “What time is it?” The rabbi looked at his watch and said, “Twenty minutes to twelve.” “Good,” replied the storekeeper, “Then I can serve you. You see, I do not serve anyone on Erev Shabbos past chatzos, midday.”
Excerpt from a speech given by Rabbi Abraham Twerski, on Mesilas Yesharim, produced by the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation.
Rabbi Kaplan, student in the yeshiva of Mir, boarded with a family. One Friday morning when he left for the yeshiva, the husband was going to the market to buy provisions for Shabbat. His wife said to him, “please come back early.” When Rabbi Kaplan returned at about noontime, she was anxiously standing at the door looking for her husband. He asked her, “why are you so anxious? There are still several hours till Shabbat.”
“Several years after we were married, we had no children, and then we were blessed with a child, a little boy. He was not developing well and I took him to the doctor. The doctor examined him and told us that there was something seriously wrong with the child’s heart and that we should take him to the heart specialist in Vilna. I did so, and the heart specialist gave us no good news. Essentially, he told us to go back home and wait for what would transpire. I cried all night at the hotel. Another guest asked me what I was crying about and I told her. She said, on the way home, ‘stop off at Radin, and get a bracha from the Chofetz Chaim.’
“When we got to Radin, I was terribly disappointed that due to his advanced age and frail condition, the Chofetz Chaim wasn’t accepting visitors. But then I happened to notice the grandson of the Chofetz Chaim, and he had roomed with us when he was in the yeshiva. I asked him to intercede for me, to get to see the Chofetz Chaim.
“When I came in, the Chofetz Chaim was obviously weak, very frail. I broke down in tears. I explained to him the horrible problem about our child. He said to me, ‘My daughter, don’t cry. Just promise me one thing. That every Friday, by noontime, your table will be set, L’Kavod Shabbos. The candles will be ready. And, that you will light the candles well ahead of sunset.’
“Of course I promised him and I began to do so. I returned home, and every Friday afternoon, the table was set by noontime. The candles were ready. And gradually, I saw that my child was improving. I took my child back to the doctor and they asked me if I had gone to the clinic. I said no, I was in Vilna, to the heart doctor that you sent to me.
“They said, ‘take this child back to the Vilna doctor again. ‘ I did, and he said, “this is not the same child you had here last time. “I told him, ‘this is our only child.’ The doctor was in wonderment. “What happened?”
“I said, ‘we got a bracha from the Chofetz Chaim.’ The doctor was Jewish, but not observant. He said, ‘I did not want to tell you last time how bleak the situation was. Your child’s heart was totally diseased. Now, sometimes we doctors can do something for an ailing heart. But to take out a totally diseased heart and replace it with a new, healthy one, only the Chofetz Chaim could do that.”
And so the woman said to Rabbi Kaplan, “now you see why I’m so anxious that my husband returns early from shopping. Kavod Shabbos.”
Rabbi Twersky continues: Not to rush into the house ten minutes before shabbos from work. Well before shabbos, have the table set and the candles ready, and to prepare for shabbos, as we would for an honorable, distinguished, important guest.
When we do that, we honor Shabbos and give it its full significance. And so, in addition to refraining from forbidden types of activities on Shabbos, we have Shabbos as a day of kedusha. Shabbos can then become a taste of the world to come.
I was in Monsey for this past Shabbos for a bar mitzva of a grand nephew. On Friday night, my niece asked me if I could address the guest, she had invited for Sholosh Seudos. I must say I was caught a bit off guard, so as I pondered what to say, I decided that introducing chatzos was a topic as good as any.
I began with a parable I heard these days on the phoneHashem created the Yetzer hara, (evil inclination) and send him down to earth on a mission, to turn people astray. The YH went down happily and came to Avraham and told him of his plan. Avraham responded that he thinks it is a grand idea, but there were not enough converts as yet so he should please come back at a later date. The YH went back to Hashem complaining he had no takers for his evil schemes. Hashem encouraged him to keep trying…
He went back to Yaacov who told him, I am too busy raising my twelve children, so come back later. So the Yetzer Hara kept trying to entice people with not too much success. He came to the Baal shem tov and the Baal Shem tov told him I can use your services, I will entice people to be real stubborn to do only the will of Hashem. The YH was quite dejected and finally Hashem told him I will bring the haskala and all the ism, into the world and then your work will be easy. Finally the YH decided that erev Shabbos was a great opportunity to distract people. Have them rush to do all their chores, while rushing to light the candles Rav Yaakov KamenetzkyZtz”l said, that inasmuch as we have overcome the test of Shabbos that the first frum Jews who landed in America, were sorely tested with, we have actually lost the erev Shabbos, as people rush about doing things that have no relation to Shabbos on erev Shabbos, and end up missing the spirit of bringing in Shabbos with serenity.
Then there was the chatzos movement!!!!!!!!!! and all this is going to change. We will be able to once again bring in Shabbos the way it was meant to be…
Let us work hard in sending the YH of erev Shabbos frenzy -packing…
(Submitted by Gitta Bixenspanner)
From Meoros HaShabbos, Volume 1, Parshas Shemini:
The scene in the home of Rav Yechezkel Abramskyearly Friday morning was always the same: the table was laid with china, cutlery and glassware while the shining silver wine cup and fragrant challis set upon the white tablecloth regally awaited the Shabbos Queen.
Why did Rav Abramsky and his household extend themselves to such great lengths to be prepared for Shabbos at such an early hour? The custom stemmed from his wife’s grandfather the Ridvaz.
Deathly ill, it seemed as if the Ridvaz’s time had come. From his sickbed, he poured out his heart in prayer to God, the Omnipotent Healer. The great sage sat up suddenly, turning to his wife. “I had a revelation from on High: if our table will be ready for Shabbos every Friday morning when I return from morning prayers, then I will be healed.”
The Ridvaz and his wife pledged to observe this practice. Immediately thereafter, the sick man’s fever lowered, and he slowly began to regain his health. From then on, they maintained this custom every week.
And since then, in my own home, I am also particular about this practice…” explained Rav Abramsky.
Excerpts from “The Secrets of Shabbos” by Rabbi Dovid Meisels, published by Israel Bookshop:
A person who exerts herself straightening up the house on Erev Shabbos, preparing the meals and baking the challas herself, draws down the kedusha of Shabbos already on Friday. Hashem will repay her measure for measure. (Divrei Yoel, Sukkos, page 293); pg 10
The sweat one exudes in the process of preparing for Shabbos has the same quality as tears of remorse; the sweat, like tears, wipes away all sins one committed during the week. The harder one works on Shabbos preparations,the more she gains. (Shaarei Teshuvah 250:2) pg. 11
According to the Chida, she who joyfully makes preparations for Shabbos–Hashem will forgive all her sins. pg.12
“In connection with Chatzos- If you can accomplish it, it is certainly an important endeavor, however one should say bli neder, because to go against a vow is serious. May it be a merit that Hashem answer your prayers for the best.”
Harav Yisrael Gans Shlita- a major posek in Yerushalayim
I found in R’ Shimshon Pincus’s Shabbos Kodesh(English book) a beautiful excerpt which I wanted to share with you all, as it really sums up the goal of Chatzot:
R’ Shimshon Pincus zt”l once stressed, “There is a practical way to merit the kedusha of Shabbos. All we need to do is welcome Shabbos when it arrives, and give it a proper greeting. Our problem is that when Shabbos arrives, we’re usually not ready. As much as we try to be ready on time, doesn’t work. Why is it so hard to be ready to greet Shabbos when it comes?
This is not just a matter of time mismanagement-there is a spiritual reason for it. A person can begin early in the morning and still barely make it at the last minute. Something strange is going on here.
It is written in Torah sources that all the forces of evil that plague us all week, disappear on Shabbos. The yetzer hara knows it is about to be put out of commission-it will be banished for twenty-four hours-so it works hard and makes an extra effort beforehand. This effort generates many obstacles and delays on our path as we are trying to properly prepare for Shabbos.
But this is our chance to tap into the tremendous potential of Shabbos. However we begin Shabbos, is how it continues. (pages 24-25)
As I am sure you realize, the strategy you describe for meeting your Friday Chatzos goal is indeed a halachik concept. We all are required to keep shabbos on our mind throughout the week – you just actually do it – another example of how your “fresh” perspective outshines that of us old and lazy ffbs. The Gemara tells us how everytime – on any day - the great sage Shamai came across anything nice, he would put it aside for shabbos, only using it during the week if encountered an even nicer one to take its place. The Medrash tells us how R’ Chiya bar Abbainquired as to the source of a certain individuals wealth, And was told it’s because whenever he came across a nice animal, he would immediately buy it for Shabbos. So preparing for Shabbos indeed is supposed to start right after Havdallah – you just actually do it.
Roiza Weinreich, our esteemed chatzos ambassador, has generously ( once again, she donates the hotline) approached her personal Rav of 25 years, the esteemed Rov, Rabbi Herbst, head of beis din and well known in the Jewish world, and in New York in particular. He has encouraged Roiza that what we are doing is a beautiful thing, and he has offered, should a halachic question arise that needs a Rabbi’s input, Roiza will present the she’ila to him. In general, we request that every woman in the discussion group consult their own personal Rav, should a halachic question arise, but if that were not available to you, Rav Rabbi Herbst has agreed to respond to our needs. Thank you, Roiza, for arranging this for us, and we are grateful to the Rav for his support of our efforts.
This shabbos I asked Rabbi Posen- a halacha teacher and rov and a Ponovezh graduate.
If a mother has a job that lasts past chatzos can she do chatzos? Rabbi Posen answered If she can do the preparations for Shabbos on Thurs. Nite and set the table before leaving for work that would be fine. Then he added it is remarkable who is like klal yisrael that women would have such a degree of mesirus nefesh. They should be blessed.
Someone once asked the Satmer Rebbe, R’ Yoel Teitelbaum Ztz”l when is it a good time to start doing things for Shabbos? Is it better to finish before or after Chatzos? His answer was that if people only knew the schar and the merit they would start making Shabbos on Sunday morning.
Friday is my day off. After years of hair-raising, screech-to-the-finish erev Shabbos dramas, I realized that something had to change. I decided to bribe myself. I made a deal. If I am “good”, which means that I get all of the cooking done on Thursday night, then I am a free agent Friday mornings. As embarrassing as it sounds, the system works (at least for me)
Rebbetzin Tzipporah Heller, Neve Yerushalyim
One Perfect Mitzvah
Did anyone read the “Collectibles” column by Rabbi Baruch Twersky in this weeks Mishpacha? Its as if it was written for us! I’ll quote:
“The sefer Chareidim states: although everyone must be careful with all the mitzvos, one should choose one mitzvah to grasp onto with all his strenght, taking care never to transgress it, all the days of his life.
It is wise to choose one mitzvah in which to excel: to study all its laws, to adhere to many of its stringencies, and to keep it carefully and with joy………
It is wise to choose one mitzvah in which to excel. This will grant us immense spiritual growth and Olam Haba, & it will also be a catalyst for keeping all the mitzvos to perfection.
The gemara (shabbos) relates how several amoraim excelled in one area; Rabbi Nachman said: May I be rewarded because I was careful to eat 3 meals on Shabbos. Rabbi Yehuda said: May I be rewarded because I was careful to pray with concentration…. The amoraim were careful with all mitzvos, in ev ery area of the torah. However by being extra careful in one area, they earned special merit.
Further states: the torah is called the tree of life (&the mitzvos are the branches). By grasping on to one of the branches, one has grasped the tree itself. If however a person would try to grab all the branches at once, he could not do so.”
The Rambam writes: it is among the fundamental Torah beliefs that if a person keeps one of the mitzvos of the Torah properly, witout any ulterior motives, only for its own sake (lishmah) & for the love of Hashem, then he will earn through it Olam Haba…
In the merit of any mitzvah, a person can earn Olam Haba. By excelling in any one of the mitzvos of the Torah, the person has earned for himself great reward- and ultimately, his diligence in observing this one mitzvah will influence & improve his overall observance.”
When I read this article on Shabbos- I immediately thought of oyr chatzos group- we discussed this in the past- what other mitzvah can we be sure were fuldfilling totally & properly? & for me I definitely saw changes in so many other areas as well. Being more disciplined & on schedule automatically makes one calmer & less likely to lose their cool & yell or get upset. Things are more organized allowing us to fit more davening & chesed into our days- I could go on & on…. I definitely agree that “this one mitzvah will influence & improve his overall observance”!
I just read in the Binah (last week’s Erev Shabbos issue-Highly recommended) a nice vort in the name of Rav Yitzchak Hutner about preparing for Shabbos as an end in it of itself. I excitedly shared this to my husband, and he said of course, those ideas are in the Gemara, not only that, but its in the Torah!! (Dont know why he decided to tell me NOW, after I’ve been doing Chatzos for a year and a half! ) Anyways, here’s what he showed me:
In the Aseres Hadibros (cant get more basic than that, can you?) It says “Shamor Es Yom Hashabos” The commentary Chizkuni says on the word “Shamor” that it means to ANTICIPATE and PREPARE for Shabbos. So there you have it And in case you were wondering, the 4th Dibra does not say “Shamor Es Yom Hashabos on Thursday and Friday” It is a constant and daily Mitzvah to prepare and wait for Shabbos.
So instead of us having to explain and defend Chatzos, it should be the other way around!!
(Submitted by Leeby Dershowitz)
This is a beautiful piece from an essay of Rabbi Soloveitchik zt’l in Al haTeshuva” translated by Pinchas H. Peli:
Erev Shabbos Jews
Allow me, please, to make a “private confession” concerning a matter that has caused me such loss of sleep. I am not so very old, yet I remember a time when ninety percent of world Jewry were observant and the secularists were a small minority at the fringes of the camp. I still remember – it was not so long ago – when Jews were still close to G-d and lived in an atmosphere perverted with holiness. But, today, what do we see? The profane and the secular are in control wherever we turn.
Even in those neighborhoods made up predominantly of religious Jews one can no longer talk of the “sanctity of the Sabbath day.” True, there are Jews in America who observe the Sabbath. The label “Sabbath observer” has come to be used as a title of honor in our circles, just like “Harav HaGaon” – neither really indicates anything and both testify to the lowly state of our generation. But’ it is not for the Sabbath that my heart aches, it is for the “eve of the Sabbath.” There are Sabbath-observing Jews in America, but there are not “eve-of-the-Sabbath” Jews who go out to greet the Sabbath with beating hearts and pulsating souls. There are many who observe the precepts with their hands, with their feet and/or with their mouths – but there are few, indeed, who truly know the meaning
In a shiur by R’ Ephraim Wachsmanabout Elul (first CD in the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s Reflections on Elul), he explained how Elul is such an important preparatory month to the Yomim Noraim. As he explained the importance of being prepared for these holidays, he gave other examples. He spoke about being prepared for Shabbos by Chatzos and how our previous generations would never think of doing any preparations afterwards. He spoke very nicely about the whole idea and told other stories of the importance of Shabbos .
From an article by Rebbetzin Shaindy Bluming in the Talking Points magazine:
A young man once came to Rav Diskin, ztz’l, seeking a bracha for his daughter, in particular that she should find a geshmak (pleasure) in Shabbos, rather than wait for it to be over.
Rav Diskin asked the father “Does your daughter help in the Shabbs preparations?”
The father replied that “NO, her assistance is unnecessary. My wife is a real baalebusta and manages, along with outside help, to prepare everything for Shabbos herself.”
Rav Diskin exclaimed, “No wonder she has no taam (taste) for Shabbos, no wonder she waits for it to end! Give her jobs, let her do things for the sake of Shabbs! By giving for Shabbos, Shabbos becomes meaningful and fulfilling. One who is a giver, even if it means giving for Shabbos, is always a winner!”
This story clearly applies to those who feel guilty asking their children to help. The children should help for their benefit, not solely for yours.
It also reminds me of the famous teaching of Rav Dessler. Rav Dessler writes that the root of the word ahava love is hav give. The more you give a person the more you love them. That is why parents have so much love for their children and why children never have the same love for their parents. And he advises to increase love you should increase giving. Rav Dessler is talking about human relationships but the story about Rav Diskin seems to indicate that the same principle applies to Shabbos.
A True Story of a Chatzos-related Shidduch
A widow sought an audience with the Rebbe of Rimminov, R. Zvi Hirsh. As she was still of childbearing age, she desperately sought the blessing of the tzadik that she would succeed in meeting someone to remarry soon. The Rebbe asked her some questions about her deceased husband and his family, and also about her family: where was she from, from which family, and so forth.
Upon hearing the family name and the name of the town, the Rebbe’s eyes widened. He asked for the specific address of her childhood home, and himself even provided a description of the house, which she confirmed. The Rebbe then rested his head in his hands, appearing to be lost in deep thought. Finally, he raised his eyes and said to her, “All right, I have for you a suggestion for a match. I recommend that you should marry…me!”
The woman turned pale. The eyes of the Rebbe’s attendant nearly popped out of his head. It was difficult to say who was more shocked. The woman, totally flustered, remained silent.
“Please don’t be afraid,” the Rebbe said to her gently. “Or embarrassed. If you say ‘No’ I won’t hold it against you. I’ll still try and help you.”
Now the woman was blushing slightly. She opened and closed her mouth several times, hesitating, until finally she was able to speak. “Rebbe, if you are in favor of this proposal, then certainly I am too.”
The tzadik smiled. He turned to his attendant and told him to fetch drinks and some pastries and a minyan of the elder chassidim; they would celebrate the engagement right then.
After the formal arrangements were completed, the Rebbe addressed the assembled group. “I know you are wondering about the suddenness of this engagement and the strangeness of the whole procedure. Let me explain.
“My parents died when I was a lad, and the community arranged for me to be apprenticed to a tailor. One of my jobs was to make all his deliveries of new and mended clothes, which were always done on Fridays. Of all the families I regularly delivered to, there was only one that always paid promptly, instead of deferring it. This was a family with many children, so they often had items to be repaired. Whenever I would arrive there past midday, the house would already be completely prepared for Shabbos, right down to the flask of wine on the white-covered table. And the father of the home would be sitting serenely, reviewing the weekly Torah reading in the traditional manner. Even if it was just past noon, the spirit of Shabbat was already pervasive in that house. I was always amazed. And impressed.
“I used to pray that when my time came, that I should have the good fortune to marry someone from that family, or in another such family where the Shabbos was honored in such exemplary fashion. When this good woman revealed to me her background, I realized that she had grown up in that very house! Indeed she is the daughter of that man whom I admired so much. I understood that her presence before me was an indication that all the way back then my prayers had been accepted. Now I can merit to marry a wife who truly knows how to prepare for and honor Shabbos.”
Although Rebbe Zvi Hirsh was well into his sixties at the time of the wedding, the couple had two children. It is also known that the Rimminover acted towards his much younger wife with great honor and respect. When he passed away, his widow subsequently remarried Rebbe Yisroel of Rhuzin, also a widower, who acted as a father for her young children.
According to Beshurin Melech, this lady’s daughter eventually married a grandson of the Rhuziner, which would mean that she became her daughter’s grandmother! Her son, Yosef, eventually ascended to his father’s seat as Rebbe in Rimminov.
Rebbe Zvi Hirsh of Rimminov [1778 - 29 Cheshvan 1847] was the attendant of the well-known Rebbe, R. Menachem Mendel of Rimminov, and subsequently his successor. He had a reputation as a miracle worker. Some of his teachings are collected in Mevasser Tov and inBe’erot HaMayim.
Source: Translated and adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from the book“Beshurin Melech” vol. 2, p.42-44, in the name of the great rabbi, R. Asher Zelig Margolies.