Shabbat preparations make Shabbat all the more meaningful and precious. The hard work drives home the understanding that we will soon be visited by a special guest—the Shabbat Queen. The following are some of the advance preparations required to observe the Shabbat properly.

Your Shabbat Shopping List

On Shabbat we can’t go shopping, so certain items need to be on hand in advance. Aside from traditional Shabbat foods, your Shabbat table will need:

  • Candles and candlesticks
  • Kosher wine or grape juice
  • A Kiddush cup
  • Three loaves of challah (so you’ll have two uncut loaves on the table for each meal)
  • A cutting board and cover for the challah
  • A festive tablecloth
  • Salt

For havdalah you will need:

  • Aromatic spices
  • A braided candle

Preparing Your Home

The laws of Shabbat rest preclude many household activities—we don’t wash the floors, use a vacuum cleaner, turn the lights on or off, cook, or even warm up food. This requires us to take care of many chores before Shabbat begins.

The preparations make Shabbat all the more meaningful and preciousMost types of washing and cleaning are forbidden on Shabbat, as is the use of all electric appliances. In order to greet Shabbat appropriately, organize a cleaning schedule so that by Friday afternoon your home is clean, the sink clear of dishes, the floors washed, the carpets vacuumed, and the laundry folded and put away. Arrange to pick up Shabbat clothing from the dry cleaners, and polish your shoes.

Set the Shabbat table and arrange the Shabbat candles. Place a challah or a prayerbook on the table along with the candles.

Set all the lights, air conditioners and heat how you’d like them to remain for the duration of Shabbat. Alternatively, you can buy timers and set them before Shabbat to go on and off at pre-designated times. Turn off the light bulb in the refrigerator.

Click here for information regarding pre-Shabbat food preparations.