This article is in the July/August Issue 13 of Torah Sisters Magazine.


How do you keep yourself and your home calm and shalomy during the busyness of Friday Preparations?

I keep my home calm and peaceful by preparing slowly and a couple of days in advance. We start our prep work on Wednesday. We do all the cleaning Wednesday and Thursday, so on Friday, we spend the day prepping food for the weekend. Since I have two kids under the age of two, we move pretty slowly. Since our home is cleaned/prepped for Sabbath, we can focus more on preparing our hearts for Sabbath on Friday. We have spurts throughout the day where we listen and dance to worship music, have a special time of reading the Torah, and talk about all the wonderful things Yah did for us the previous week. It sets the tone in my home for the Sabbath going into it with a heart of thankfulness. -Lydia

I don’t save it all for Friday. Each day I try to do one task to prepare. Maybe it’s simply doubling dinner so it’s a simple heat and serve on Shabbat. -Mackenzie

We are going on almost thirty years of keeping Sabbath. In the beginning, it was hectic! The children were little, and we grew into a family of seven over the years. As the children grew, they helped more and more. Even when they were little, they loved to help grind the wheat to make challah. As the years went on and we tried to pack everything into Friday, I had the sudden realization that Thursday could be prep day for Friday! I changed Thursday to my shopping day. Now, when we wake up Friday morning, we are all set to go already! It was a game-changer. Now that we only have one child left in the home, and he is 21, preparations have simplified, and I miss those days. -Diane

We prepare throughout the week instead of leaving it all for Friday. Friday is for cooking and tidying. -Elizabeth

I remind myself that all the stress is self-inflicted. Ancient Israelites most likely slept in tents with dirt floors. I wanted this huge house with all these rooms to clean, I wanted to cook a beautiful meal, and I wanted what I thought was my dream job, but what does The Father want and require? I remind myself that I have a choice and that my choices have consequences (negative or positive), and I pray for discernment to choose wisely. I felt convicted to quit my job that was causing me to work on the Sabbath, move into an 18ft travel trailer, and sell everything that no longer served me. I turn my phone off to minimize distractions from what’s most important. I downsized and restructured my life and only kept what was most important. No stress, no chaos, just peace. -Keisha

I wish I were in a season of life where I could welcome in the Sabbath with a fancy Friday night meal, but we just aren’t there yet. The truth is Fridays are hectic because I often work outside of the home on Fridays and Sundays. So Friday evenings are DIY sub and sandwich night! I have various kinds of lunch meat with all the fixings, chips or fries, and salad ingredients. Sometimes we will fix grilled sandwiches or soup. Everyone makes their own, and we eat with disposable dinnerware. By doing this, we eliminate a huge item from my to-do list, keep my kitchen clean, and free myself up to enjoy time with my Father and my family. -Gina

Music! We have a playlist that we play as we prep on Friday and as Shabbat begins that evening. We also do a lighter day of school so that we can focus on preparing our home.
I find that I need to continually tell myself that a clean home for Shabbat is wonderful, but don’t make it an idol. Sharing the best meal we know how to make with our fellowship is great, but chips and salsa with the people we love is okay, too. And finally, we’re prepping for the Sabbath every day, so Friday is a little easier. When we prep a little every day, our minds and hearts are continually on the Father, His Sabbath, and the covenant He made with us. -Holly

When I start prepping for Sabbath on the first day of the week or even the 3rd day of the week, it changes the entire energy of how Shabbat prep flows. By Friday afternoon, provided I’ve worked my week with Shabbat in mind, I’m putting the final pieces together, and there is no stress. However, when I can’t or things come up, and they do, I decide what the most important things are to get done and let the rest go. The house doesn’t have to be perfect, but it sure helps me enjoy my Sabbath, as does not going into Shabbat like a whirlwind. Choosing peace and choosing shalom, ushers in shalom. -Tamara

We try to be decided on all meals to be prepared for Friday eve. As well as we decide on Sabbath breakfast and lunch by no later than Wednesday. This way, we know if we need to make purchases, get food thawed from the freezer, or what types of preps are needed. Plus, Friday, if we have clutter out and we haven’t had time to deal with a project in process, it is collected and put in an ‘out of view space,’ so sabbath day is all the more focused on rest. Projects collected into a basket and hidden away during Sabbath can easily be resumed after Sabbath is over without stress. Note of praise to the Lord, years after I learned to put this collection of work away, it turned out to prepare me for a job I had later, granting me more success in work management. -Gail

I light a candle and pour a hot cup of tea. -Ruth

We live on a homestead, so we have started doing some of the prep, like groceries and cleaning, on Thursday. This allows us to use Friday as the day we do all animal and food prep. Breaking up the chores and responsibilities has allowed us to enjoy the day more. -Sarah

Thursday is a shopping, cleaning, etc day. Friday is more cozy, thoughtful touches. I’m thankful for women sharing their prep recipes and real-life helps. -Kathy

Calm? No. There’s usually a storm about an hour before sunset because half or more of the kids aren’t helping, and I go into hyperfocus to get done what I can before activating ‘Stop, Drop, Shabbat’ mode, as coined by Raquel Hiller from Women Living Torah. That concept has given me the mental freedom to just let go of that which I cannot get done. I love that many of these responses show just how human we all are. Just because we’re obeying YHWH’s plan and keeping Shabbat doesn’t mean we just instantly have it all together and don’t struggle. We’re all through life (and Prep Day) in many of the same ways, and that’s okay. We were never told it would be easy, but with the grace of YHWH, we are all able to grow and relax in His timing! -Heather

Each child has jobs upfront, and we play praise and worship music while we are getting ready. I blow the shofar with my son, and everyone knows the time with Abba has come
Not always easy, but it works well. -Susan

Taking little fun/ relaxing breaks with the goats, chickens, dogs, and cat. It seems to put it all in perspective for us. -Patricia

We try to stick to a chore routine all week that keeps us from having to scramble to fit a lot of chores in on Friday. I also plan a special meal plus dessert for Friday evening that helps get my family excited to start Shabbat! And whatever I make for Friday evening, I double to take for Oneg on Saturday. -Amanda

We start the day with prayer, asking for our hearts to be prepared for our appointment with the King. We keep the homeschool schedule set to art/music, and we work in joy knowing we are getting ready to go into a special time with our God. Errands get a little splurge of hot cocoa for the kiddo and a coffee for mom. We rejoice in all the blessings we have and look forward to the evening dinner and family time with God. -Angela

I start Thursday night by prepping Challah ingredients on my kitchen counter. Then I get a good night’s sleep. I wake up and put on a Joshua Aaron cd and my apron. I praise the Lord and start making the Challah. Each ingredient I add to the bowl is a person’s name, and I pray for them. I start kneading the dough and praying for each of the people that are coming to our home for Erev Shabbat. Peace is all around me. -Mellinda

I listen to Hebrew worship music. I’m an anxious person, so I’m always thinking ahead to avoid any stress when it comes to easing into Shabbat. I want it to be a welcoming experience, not one that is rushed. Usually, the house is somewhat cleaned, sheets changed on the beds, showers, dinner, and dishes done. Then I greet my King and Savior with Shalom and rest. -Cam

I’m most calm when I remember that God sanctified the sabbath, that it comes whether I think I am “ready” or not. I’m “shalomy” when I remember God’s presence is with me already. I don’t bring Him in by “proper” sabbath observance. My job is to welcome God’s gift, and just like I can welcome a dear friend into my messy house unapologetically, so too can I welcome His Sabbath. -Gail

I have to prep all week. If I don’t, it’s usually a fail. But I am learning and getting better at planning out each night when I get home from work, a task for Shabbat that way, Shabbat is on my mind all week, and I am always working toward it. -Dora

I made a special playlist that I usually only play on prep day. It’s full of songs that bless me, and I turn it on as soon as I start my challah in the morning. Worshipping sets a good mood for the household as they wake up and start looking forward to Shabbat! -Sarah

I prep for Shabbat starting on day 5 with housecleaning since we are a host home. I cook for Shabbat on day six and do something simple for Shabbat Erev meal, like buying pizza or a one-pot meal that is simple. No stress, just excited for the Sabbath!! It has not always been that stress-free, but over time, you live and learn. -Ann

As we are in our “silver years”—not going to say “golden” LOL— prep is less around the home. If things aren’t perfect, no sweat. Usually, it’s a crockpot meal on Friday that will last through Shabbat. We spend more time “prepping” our hearts/minds to prepare for that glorious Shabbat. -Beth