If you’ve never made Chatzos before, the thought of ever being ready by Chatzos is often overwhelming. You may be wondering, “where do I start?”
Here are answers from some other Chatzosers:
Azriela (our dear Chatzos Lady) gives a great tip:
Newbies – just do this, even if you aren’t doing it all, just do this: set your Shabbos table. I set it on Thursday morning. When my children come home from school on Thursday afternoon, they automatically click into Shabbos mode. When my husband arrives home from work on Thursday night, he feels Shabbos, sees Shabbos, smells Shabbos, as soon as he walks in the door. Everyone is more respectful about keeping the place tidy because it’s clear that SHABBOS IS COMING.
CBR’s advice is short, sweet, and to the point:
My best advice is to take it slow and not get overwhelmed.
Debbie adds some more practical tips:
“This is the right address for turning shabbos dreams into reality! I used to try so hard not to go into the 18 mins and I kept aiming for being on time or, “This week I’m going to be 5 mins early!”-without much success. When I started working on Chatzos about 6 mos ago, my mindset changed because having to finish HOURS earlier helped clear the way for an earlier candle lighting. The veteran chatzosers will have more tips but here are some that I found/ find helpful:
1. Chatzos is also about bringing the kedusha of shabbos into the week! So when I do anything related to shabbos-whether its a simple dessert or just taking a shoe to the shoe repair, I get to say l’kovod shabbos kodesh, and I try and do that each day of the week.
2. Turn thurs into fri and wed into thurs etc. Meaning, I have tried moving my preps back by a day so everything doesn’t backlog on fri.
3. Make a checklist of the “last minute stuff” fri afternoon, and bring my shower earlier by an hour so my post-chatzos time has more form.
4. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF!!! Every small step is a big one! If you don’t do so well one week, you’ll do better next week.I am so impressed that you took the plunge and joined and posted!
May Hashem reward you for all your efforts!
Rivky P shares,
Do not make chatzos a pass/fail situation. Any improvement to your erev Shabbs is a success.
Try to think: What are three things that you were busy with Friday afternoon? Can any of them be moved earlier in the day or week? Pick one task to move. See how it affects your Erev Shabbs.
For example, are you busy cooking in the afternoon? Resolve to shop on Wednesday and cook on Thursday.
Is everyone fighting over taking the latest shower? Make a schedule and post it early in the week when everyone will shower so that the last person is OUT an hour before licht benching. (As an incentive offer some hot potato kigel to whoever is ready.) Make the one who takes the longest shower take it the earliest.
Tips from Hadassa:
The main concepts that I have learned from Chatzos are:
1. Prepare for Shabbos every day of the week! (Even if you can’t physically do something have Shabbos on your mind everyday.)
2. Set goals for yourself and be committed to keeping them – this will force you to take actions to achieve your goals and you can measure your success.
3. Be open to doing things differently. You will find lots of ideas on this site – some will work for you and some won’t, but be open to re-thinking how you prepare for Shabbos. The important thing is to focus on what is in your control to change.
4. Always focus on the positive and never compare yourself to others, we all have our own unique set of challenges.
I think the first thing isn’t to look at chatzos the TIME per se, but the concept. Concentrate on what you can do to make your Friday calmer, not necessarily having everything finished exactly by Chatzos.
Certain things might have to be compromised on… I used to like to give my kids baths as close to Shabbos as possible so they could be the cleanest and fresh going into sShabbos…but I realized then all their clothes were all over the floor, had to get dressed, brush hair etc ,towels everywhere….now I bathe them in the morning before they go to school – already dressed in their Shabbos clothes – they love it – I think they stay pretty much clean b/c Fridays is a low key day in school also – no projects or outdoor play…its seems to work. Thats just one example on what I had to give up on..
Or I used to wash the floors on Friday and I’d ask my husband to bring everyone into a room and read books to them so I can wash the floor without anyone around. But it wasn’t always good for my husband and not always did the kids want it. So now no matter what, I make it a priority to make sure the floor is washed Thursday night or before they come home from school on Friday – just to take away that tense time where they feel forced to stay in a room
Obviously different things will work for you but its to think is really getting you and work on those first ( like Rivky P said) without worrying about the time
And of course daven for Hashem to help you and He will-He sees where you want to go and He’ll take you there
Like all goals, baby steps first! I give baths Thursday nights, cook most of Shabbos Wednesday and small things Thursday…etc. Pick one area, concentrate on that until you have it down pat. Then move on to the next “problem area” that’s keeping you from getting to chatzos.
1) EVERY day of the week do @ least ONE thing for Shabbos. It can be as gargantuan as baking Challah by hand or as tiny as sewing on a button on a Shabbosdig garment. Remember to say “Lekavod Shabbos Kodesh” while doing it & you get a Mitzvah EACH time you do so!
2) Regarding food preparations: make whatever you can in advance & freeze. If time, space, & money allow for it, prepare whatever you can in BULK & freeze for a couple of weeks. By reading through old posts, you’d be surprised @ what can be frozen! RAW potato & Lukshen kugels, chulent, challah, soup- the list is endless!!!
3) Like others already said, put Shabbos tablecloth on table on Thursday night- it brings a special sense of CALMNESS into the house
4) Remember the REAL purpose of Chatzos is to come into Shabbos in a cool, calm, collected, & relaxed manner & most importantly in a HAPPY MOOD!!!! So if you don’t make Chatzos by the clock, it’s not the end of the world as long as you actually come into Shabbos in a cool, calm, & collected manner & most importantly in a HAPPY MOOD!!!
5) Most importantly: DAVEN EVERY SINGLE DAY for Siyatta Dishmaya in accomplishing your goals!!! NOTHING is too small to daven for!
Chatzos is not an all or nothing- actually, you have to be careful not to “bite off more than you can chew” because then the YH can discourage you and say, “See, you couldn’t do it- you might as well give up!”