It is taught that the order of Creation is renewed every week and just like upon the creation of man on the sixth day, G‑d blew into Adam a spirit of life, in a similar way, it is as though we were re-created as well at the onset of Shabbat, as we receive the additional soul, for all our spiritual stature grows at this time.

...ruchniyut...represents a whole other reality that man is entering.

Incorrectly rendered as ‘spirituality,’ the Hebrew word ruchniyut defies translation. The late chasidic Master of Kabbalah, Rabbi Moshe Luria, points out that acquiring ruchniyut is not like receiving further levels of holiness for it represents a whole other reality that man is entering. This may be likened to the Talmudic example of the egg of a hen which, if impregnated becomes a forbidden food. We may ask: How is it that the chick to be born of that egg may become a permitted food? The answer is that it loses its prior mineral form and enters the new reality of a living animal. It is thus no wonder that to leave its aspect of mineral which is associated with the dust, it must shed its prior form and return to the primordial essence of life that gave it existence and from there, to enter the reality of the living world.

The same process is involved in the case of one ascending to a higher level of holiness (ruchniyut). As taught by the Maharal of Prague, our awaited Mashiach-Redeemer is to be born on the ninth of Av, at the time we are mourning for the Temple loss, for the messianic light is not the light of the Temple expanded with an additional layer of holiness, but rather a totally new heavenly essence stemming from a loftier space on High. It may thus only be directed toward Israel at the time that the former light is in a state of concealment, as it is specifically on the day of the Temple’s destruction.

The person worthy enough to receive Shabbat with purity of mind, heart and body parts is aware of the light of G‑d's holiness, and his heart burns like fiery coals, a flame of the Divine, in his longing for closeness to the Holy One, to the point that "many waters are unable to extinguish" the love burning in his heart, becoming totally immersed in his Divine service all night and day on Shabbat, adding from his weekday time to infuse the Shabbat light at the onset as well as after the end of Shabbat.

It is up to us to regard this challenging ladder of ascent as our own...

Last but not least: It is up to us to regard this challenging ladder of ascent as our own heavenly ladder in which we may ascend step by step, in the knowledge that the One over the ladder is behind the magnet drawing us to an ever closer experience of His closeness on every single Shabbat.

The intention of this essay is to group together the spiritual preparations for Shabbat transmitted by our Sages, making them available to those who yearn for their soul to ascend with what I call the Shabbat Magnet, at the time that this magnet begins to operate from Above. It is important to bear in mind that none of the elements of the preparation are commandments. As the late Chasidic Master, Rabbi Moshe Luria zt’l points out: "From the moment that something comes to you as a tzivuy/commandment, you are following the King’s orders as you do it and no longer show desire. "

We must exercise great caution upon taking on spiritual practices to be done on Fridays that may be difficult to upkeep, and women in particular, because the brunt of the Shabbat preparations is on her. We must all keep in mind that we are not here to get a spiritual high but rather to fulfill Divine will with the intention of making a dwelling space for the Divine Presence in this world. Each one of us was entrusted with special tasks in order to make this possible and it is only when s/he/one has fulfilled those that s/he or she is free to engage in others.

If a man had a job on Friday and his family was dependent on his salary to finish the week, it would be irresponsible of him to decide to quit his job so that he would be free to engage in Shabbat preparations early on. He may in contrast pray that G‑d Al-mighty help him merit engaging in this higher service, and he can try to see whether he could fulfill his tasks by doing them at a different time during the week, but the end result is not up to him and he may have to continue working in this way until his situation changes, accepting that the change will only come as per Divine will.

...she must engage in these preparations with joy and pride...

In a similar way, the woman is usually entrusted with the physical preparations for Shabbat. She may manage to do everything so that she is finished early on Friday but if somehow she cannot do it, the physical preparations are her priority. Moreover, she must engage in these preparations with joy and pride to have been entrusted with this holy task.

Last but not least these preparations do not form part of the Torah observance we are duty bound to adopt, but rather are the expression of our yearning to ascend to higher level of closeness with the help of the inner teachings of the Torah. We may thus start according to our personal situation, and increase our commitment with great caution.

I take this opportunity to thank Hakadosh Baruch Hu the One Above for allowing to present the fruit of many years of work, culled from a book I am writing as an offering from Rachel bat Chana, in the prayer that she will soon build a true, enduring house of Israel with her rightful partner, worthy of becoming a sanctuary for the Divine Presence.