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Humorous Guide to How to Prepare for Shabbat

January 10, 2019 | by David Kilimnick

You will run out of hot water. For this reason, you should start showering on Thursday morning.

Write down the address where you are going for lunch.

For twenty-five hours a week, we Jews are commanded to rest and not do anything that is considered work of physical creation. That includes turning on and off lights, making a fire, and using almost anything your in-laws bought your kids. As Israeli poet Ahad Ha’am said, “More than the Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.” Shabbat gives us food, warmth and keeps us in shul for a very long time. Shabbat is such a special day and of course we must prepare for it. Here I bring you my tips of how to prepare your home for Shabbat:

Food Prep

This is the first level of Shabbat preparation. Make sure there is a lot of food. Shabbat food is simply an amount. If quiche was made in huge vats, it would be Shabbat food.

Start Cooking on Tuesday

Four days is about the amount of time it takes to cook three full meals for eight people, with side dishes. You might want to start on Monday, just in case guests show up. Be prepared for these guests you weren’t expecting that you do not know.

Make Vegetarian Food

You are having guests. They are not going to tell you that they don’t eat meat. They assume you know that, so that the meal can be awkward for you. This way, your vegetarian guests can have you feeling even worse for serving dead animals, while they are starving and staring at each hideous bite of flesh.

A new tradition I have started: If my guests say nothing, I put peanuts in everything.

Go to the Local Butcher & Bakery

This is a good way to save four days and an evening of Challah making. If you spend over six hundred dollars at Moishe’s Deli, that will also make Shabbat meaningful.

Set the Table

There is an idea of beautifying the day. You have a full house for Shabbat and you want it to look just right when fifteen people come back from shul. So, make sure to set up the correct amount of plastic forks and paper plates. You don’t want to be cleaning all that china. Plastic gives off a beautiful hue.

Clothing & Hygiene

Prepare Your Finest Clothes

Beautifying the Shabbat is of the essence. That means you wear a fine dress, a suit, or in my case, jeans. Hey, they’re the nicest clothes I’ve got! Plus, the waist is loose.

Prepare Walking Shoes

You don’t walk to shul in Shabbat shoes, unless if you are a fool. You carry the Shabbat shoes to shul and walk in sneakers. Don’t call the sneakers, sneakers, and especially not kicks. Respect what you use on Shabbat. Those Converse All-Stars that you work out in are walking shoes. And the plastic forks are silverware.

Iron Your Shirt & Polish Your Shoes

On Fridays, your home should look like a dry cleaner with a shoe repair shop inside.

Shower Early

You will run out of hot water. There is not one Jewish home that does not run out of hot water. For this reason, you should start showering on Thursday morning. Wednesday morning if you have a regular size Jewish family of twelve.

There will be fights. It is imperative that the dad yells, “Who used up the hot water?” If anybody asks you this, deny it and insist that you showered in arctic chilled water. If anybody asks you about flushing a toilet on Friday afternoon, during the last showers, deny it. Due to fear of being yelled at as a middle-aged man, your instinct will be to deny it.

House Prep

Please note: your kids will not be helping you with this.

Clean the House

You should be doing this during the week too. No reason for me to have to tell you that filth and shmutz all over the living room is unbecoming. Dust and vacuum a bit. Take some pride in your home!

Toilet Paper Ripping

Ripping toilet paper on Shabbat is forbidden. Get your kids ripping all of the toilet paper in the house for a half hour, or purchase a box of Kleenex and call it a day. If you do, you will have to deal with the side effects, namely the plumber’s bill.

Turn on All Lights You Need

No matter how nice your table looks and how much toilet paper you have cut, if the lights are not on you will have a very uncomfortable experience.

Write Down the Address Where You are Going for Lunch

Not writing it down is the worst mistake you will ever make.

Once Shabbat comes, in you cannot write. You will forget the address. It can be the address of your parent’s home down the block. You will forget it. Write it down. Once Shabbat comes in, you will forget they are your parents. Write every detail down.

Being a Shabbat guest can be a beautiful experience. That is not the case if you can’t find the house you are eating at. The people in the neighborhood do not all know the Schwartz family, who live on a street that you can’t remember.

Make sure to write down every detail. Living in New York? The street is not enough. “Do you know the Schwartz family?... Apartment five.” There are eight Schwartzes on the block and each one of them has a David. Next thing you know, you are questioning if you are on the wrong side of town. The other side of Brooklyn also has eight David Schwartzes on the block. Now you are eating Shabbat dinner with a David Schwartz you don’t know, that is only serving vegetarian food, because you didn’t write down the address, and you didn’t tell him that you only eat meat before you showed.

Yell at the Kids

This is a tradition I have seen practiced in every Jewish household before Shabbat.

They are going to do something wrong. They may not shower on Wednesday, killing the hot water plan.

They won’t clean. They won’t rip the toilet paper right, because they don’t understand your four-square method.

Next time, we will be bringing you the Shabbat fix it article, with directions for how to rig your hotel room door with the “please do not disturb” sign, so that you and everybody else can easily break into your room.

Now light the Shabbat candles and hope your electricity doesn’t go out.

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