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Thought for the Day: Increasing Kavod Shabbos

Most people have tried this science experiment at one point in their lives.  If you haven't, try it now.  Take three glasses.  In one put ice water, in the next room temperature water, and in the third hot water.  Arrange them from right to left (we are orthodox, after all): cold, temperate, hot.  Put your right forefinger into the cold water and your left forefinger into the hot water.  Wait a few moments.  (dute, dute, dute, dute, dute, dute, dute, dute, dute...

Is the water in the middle glass cold or hot?  Objectively, of course, it has one temperature,  The experience of temperature, however, is more than simply the objective measurement; it is also dependent on the preparation of the observer.  That itself is worth contemplating.  If the experience of temperature, an easily measured physical phenomenon, depends so much on your preparation; then how much more so the experience of social situations.  When you walk into any situation, your reactions -- joy, anger, frustration, etc -- have as much to do with your preparation as they do with the objective facts of the situation.  (Have I mentioned the importance of learning mussar?)  But that's not the topic du jour.

M'silas Y'sharim, when discussing the mida of chasidus (being scrupulously pious, not your choice of head gear), addresses the topic of kavod shabbos at some length; in particular the importance of preparation.  There are two aspects to this preparation.  One is the positives of bathing, putting on special clothing, preparing special dishes for the meal, etc.  But there is also preparing by starting erev shabbos preparations by doing the opposite: begin the day by putting on clothes that you normally wouldn't wear even during the week, eating simpler foods than usual, etc.  All of those things will make the Shabbos version stand out all the more so.  In fact, the Ramchal learns that that the halacha of not having a bread meal on Friday afternoon is do make a the Friday night meal seem even more special by comparison.

Simply be thinking about wanting to make Shabbos special, you can transform casual Friday from a way to get out of putting on a tie to an act of piety to honor your Creator.

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