489. Lengths to Go in Order to Honor Shabbos

72:7 A person should prepare choice meat, fish and wine for Shabbos according to his means. It is a mitzvah to eat fish at each of the Shabbos meals, assuming that one has no objections to it. If one doesn’t care for fish, he need not eat it, as Shabbos was meant to be enjoyed. (Fish is an example of a food considered prestigious in that time and place; the definition of foods that honor Shabbos can vary based on current local practices – Mishnah Brurah 242:1.) Other things that one should do in honor of Shabbos include sharpening one’s knives, cleaning the house, making the beds, and spreading a tablecloth over the table, to remain there for the entire Shabbos. Some scrupulous individuals go so far as to spread two tablecloths. One should rejoice when Shabbos arrives and give it the attention he would give a prominent guest. However one would prepare the house in honor of a VIP, he should do even more in honor of Shabbos. Some have the practice to serve pies or stuffed derma at the Friday night meal as a symbol of the manna that was found completely encased with dew below and on top. One should taste on Friday the foods he has prepared for Shabbos (in order to ensure that they are correctly flavored before Shabbos begins – MB 250:2).

72:8 Even a poor person should strive to celebrate Shabbos by saving during the week in order to have the funds necessary to honor Shabbos. If one has no money for his Shabbos needs, he should borrow some, even if it means that has to put up some collateral (or borrowing at interest from a non-Jew – Mishnah Brurah 242:4). The Talmud in Beitza (15b) tells us that G-d promises to reimburse us for the money we spend to honor Shabbos. Furthermore, one’s entire income for the year is predetermined on Rosh Hashana except for the money one spends on Shabbos and yom tov. If one spends more to honor these days, he will be given additional funds. If a person is in dire financial straits, then the Sages tell us that one should make Shabbos like a weekday rather than become dependent on others (Talmud Shabbos 118a). Even in such a case, a person should still try to do some small thing in honor of Shabbos, like preparing a fish. If a person was sent something with the intention that it should be eaten on Shabbos, he should do so and not save it for a weekday.