Please explain the importance of Shabbos preparations?
It's a pity that this very important opportunity is neglected. It's an opportunity that is mostly utilized by the mother and daughters, who are working to bring in the Shabbos.
Hachono to Shabbos. The hachono to Shabbos is a very great hachshara, preparation for the neshomo yeseira. The daughters of Yisroel who toil in the kitchen, cooking and baking, or who shop, have to know that they are making a foundation. And when Shabbos finally comes in and they sit at the table dead tired, the neshomo yeseira has found a place in them that has been prepared, like it says hikon likras Elokecha Yisroel, prepare yourself to meet Hashem.
Hachono is very important in everything, that's why when you do a mitzvah, don't rush into it. Say hineni memuchon um'zuman, I am preparing myself. When at matan Torah the Torah had to be given, it says he'yiou nechonim layom hashlishi, be prepared for the third day. You need hachono.
And those who prepare for Shabbos are preparing to accept the kedusha, and when the kedusha does come it settles in every nook and cranny of the neshomo, of the personality of the body. And the more you labor with your hands for Shabbos, the more you are becoming a candidate for the hashpo'oh of the neshomo yeseira.
That's why the great chachomim were jealous of this; they saw their wives getting all the hachono, all the benefits of Shabbos, and they wanted some was it! The biggest chachmei Hatorah used to do things. One used to chop wood, one used to bring in furniture on his shoulder, one used to do this or that, they wanted something.
There are other hachonos; this is not the only hachono. If a person will prepare himself for Shabbos by learning Mesilas Yeshorim erev Shabbos, no question! He'll learn Shaar Habchina in Chovos Halvovos, that's a kitchen in which he'll be cooking the best ingredients in your heart, in your mind. Emunah, brias haolam, yeish mei'ayin, bitachon, all the great meals that Shabbos will serve you, all the great benefits, the dishes of Shabbos are served in the Chovas Halvovos. And if you prepare that way, certainly. Only they were jealous that the women should get a gashmiudik labor too, so a little bit they used to do too!
And that Jew that encountered Rabbi Shimon bar Yechoi when he came out of his cave, and Reb Shimon bar Yechoi was koolo ruchnius; remember he was 13 years in a cave and he despised the world. Oskim b'chayei sho'oh u'meinichim chayei olam? They leave over the Torah and they busy themselves just with livelihood things? He looked down at the world, he and his son. And he said, "We two are enough to hold up the world." They could hold up the world these two great men.
Then they saw an old man running bein hashmoshos, late Friday evening, running before Shabbos, and he was carrying two sprigs of hadasim in his hands. So they stopped him and said, "What are you carrying? Why are you running?"
And he said, "Shabbos, preparing for Shabbos."
"What are you carrying?"
"Two sprigs of hadasim."
"Echod kneged shomor v'echod kneged zochor."
"Oh," they said, "if that's the case, that's how holy the Am Yisroel is!" Their minds now became pleased with the Jewish people.
It's not just gashmiyus; a person that does it is a candidate for ruchnius. When Shabbos comes and such a Jew is running with two sprigs of hadasim, that running, every time he raises his feet, he's panting, and he pants as he's running, that's a preparation.
So when the neshomo yeseira comes in him it's going to find a resting place in him. There will be a good layer, a good foundation on which to put the paintof the neshomo yeseira, and to leave over a residue that will last forever and ever.
Good Shabbos To All
This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210