488. Ways to Honor Shabbos

72:5 It is a mitzvah for every individual to personally perform some acts in honor of Shabbos, even if they have several servants who normally do such things for them. We find among our Sages that Rav Chisda would slice the vegetables, Rabbah and Rav Yoseif would chop wood, Rav Zeira would light the fire, and Rav Nachman would clean the house, bringing in his Shabbos utensils and taking out his weekday utensils (Talmud Shabbos 119a). If our Sages could do these household chores, no one should consider it below his dignity to prepare for Shabbos. Quite the opposite, it is actually an honor for a person when he honors Shabbos!

There is a custom to bake bread at home in honor of Shabbos. Even those who eat non-Jewish bread during the week should limit themselves to Jewish bread for Shabbos. (This is a matter of honoring Shabbos, not a kosher food issue; if one doesn’t have Jewish bread, he may certainly use regular bread on Shabbos – Mishnah Brurah 242:6, 274:4.) Even if one only eats Jewish bread during the week, he should honor Shabbos by baking in his home so that the women can fulfill the mitzvah of separating the portion of challah from the dough. Similar to this, Adam was created on Friday and he can be compared to the portion of challah of the world. Since the downfall was brought about through Chava (Eve), women have been given the mitzvah that represents its rectification. Three loaves should be baked: one large, one medium, and one small. The medium one should be used for the evening meal, the large one for the day meal in order to demonstrate that the honor of the day is greater, and the small one should be used for “shalosh seudos” (the third meal).