He Who Distincts Sacred from Mundane
Mizra, 5726 (1966)
We have highly praised the custom we have instilled in our home – to welcome the Shabbat, and not because the Children of Israel were commanded to do so by the Torah given at Mt. Sinai, and by many of us in general with no connection to the culture of Israel. (Actually, why not?!), yet it was the case because we find it beautiful and proper to turn one evening a week to a holiday, where everyone gathers and spends time together, with illuminations from the previous week, expressing dimness or radiance from what was accomplished in the weekdays.
It will probably take a long time to instill our tradition once again, and it will probably undergo many nuances. It will be a long time before the kibbutz gathers on the eve of the Shabbat in an atmosphere of "this evening is different from the rest of the evenings of the week," and we are certainly far from the day when there a holy atmosphere will encompass this communal meal, without members interfering by entering in the midst of the ceremony, without the whispering and chattering and with full participation in the songs and the melodies. But in order to arrive at such beautiful Friday nights that would emerge from within and not such that are arranged from 'above', rather "such that originate in the heart" – it is worthwhile that we preserve and nurture the modest ceremony that accompanies the welcoming of the Shabbat. Since ceremonies are such that tend to lift us up from ordinary routines. Yet if we turn the ceremony into a secular ordeal, it will also drag the festive meal with it and the Shabbat would be portrayed as a person who had not changed her work clothes.