“One who exerts himself on Erev Shabbos will be able to eat on Shabbos. But if not, what will he eat?”(Avodah Zara 3a, Rashi)
Every week, we make Shabbos. We’re supposed to plan for it the whole week long, in some small way each day. Washing the tablecloth, the napkins, planning a menu, shopping, making the food.
I like to get as much done as possible Thursday night so that my Erev Shabbos will be less hectic.
It’s usually still hectic. But it would be even more hectic without my Thursday night prep!
Since Shabbos has a finite deadline, I have to have things made before I light those candles. I cannot cook after sundown. I must be finished.
I could see how this might seem stressful, and, some weeks, it is. But it is also a ballast of stability.
No matter what is happening in the world, Shabbos will come on Friday night.
And we will be ready.