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The Shabbat Primer


Your Pre-Shabbat Checklist

This list is meant to be helpful, not definitive. You may wish to add or omit some items, or make your own list. Our only bit of advice is that you try to assign jobs and do each item as early in the week as possible.


Home Related Tasks

  Deadline Day (Friday: by What time) Check when completed
Overall cleaning, putting away clothing, tidying up, etc. Your breakdown of tasks and deadlines:    
Change sheets.    
Fresh sheets and towels for sleepover guests.    
Polish Shabbat items (candlesticks, kiddush cups, etc.)    
Do touch-up cleaning.    
Put fresh tablecloth on table; see that candlesticks and candles are ready to be lit; two challot are in tray on table and covered with special cloth. (This is all that is necessary by candlelighting time; the table can be set later.)    
Cut flowers and place in vase(s) on table.    
Note candlelighting time.    
See that all appliances intended to operate entire Shabbat are on, others are switched off. Don't forget telephone, refrigerator light, burglar alarms, etc. Set Shabbat timers ("Shabbat clocks.")    

List appliances:

To run all Shabbat To be turned off all Shabbat To run on timers

Tape switches, if necessary


  Deadline Day (Friday: by What time) Check when completed
Bring in anything outside that should be brought in (unless you have an eruv).    
Set out garbage. Separate garbage bags to be used on Shabbat.    
Tear toilet paper and have it in place; tissues separated and ready.    
Water plants, turn off sprinklers.    
If necessary, put away forbidden toys and games, replace with Shabbat toys and games.    
Put away or cover muktzeh items (pens, money, purses, etc.) Your list:    
Open any necessary packages and wrappers whose contents are to be used on Shabbat. (Food and personal items listed separately.) List:    

Food-Related Tasks

  Deadline Day (Friday: by What time) Check when completed
Shop for all food, supplies.    
Complete baking, including challot.    
Finish cooking.    
Freeze ice cubes.    
Sharpen knives.    
Wash pots and dishes not needed again during Shabbat, if possible. Otherwise, put out of sight. (Dishes needed again during Shabbat can be washed on Shabbat.)    
Clean and ready pots to be placed on hot-plate or blech.    
Grate vegetables; squeeze juices, if needed.    
Open all necessary packages, cans, wrappers, baby food jars, bottles, seals, etc. List:    
Put blech or hotplate in place and heat.    
Boil water and set on hotplate/blech or have ready in urn, electric kettle, thermos.    
Set up tub for soaking dishes.    
Prepare tea essence, salads. (Salads may also be prepared after candlelighting, under certain conditions.)    

Food-Preparation Appliances

To run all Shabbat To be turned off all Shabbat To run on timers
Rewarm food and place on hotplate/blech.    
Set out snacks, drinks if kiddush is late. Feed little kids early, if necessary. Have "a foretaste of Paradise"; taste all your Shabbat dishes.    

Personal Preparations

  Deadline Day (Friday: by What time) Check when completed
Invite guests    
Wash, iron, mend, polish, dry-clean all Shabbat clothes    
Bathe Kids    
Contact guests; give last-minute directions, instructions, if necessary.    
Open any necessary packages and wrappers (exs. bandages, baby ointments, cotton swabs, diapers, etc.) List:    
Polish shoes    
Finish letters, make any phone calls that won't wait. Make any "Shabbat shalom" calls to parents, and so forth.    
Leave off any occupational work involving your salaried job, homework, etc. Put yourself into a Shabbat frame of mind.    
Put away all muktzeh items; empty out pockets of clothes and coats to be worn on Shabbat (a good job for kids).    
Untie double knots in clothes and shoes to be worn on Shabbat (also a good job for kids).    
Cut hair and nails.    
Shower or bathe, shampoo, apply creams and deodorant, brush teeth.    
Apply makeup, arrange hair.    
Set out pajamas if bedroom lights to be left off.    
Mikva (men in the afternoon; women, between candle-lighting and kiddush).    
Study Torah portion (women, after candle-lighting).    
Davven Mincha (women before candle-lighting; men, after).    
Give tzedakah with kids.    
Take medicines and vitamins in advance of Shabbat, if not necessary daily; give also to kids.    
Dress for candle-lighting. (You can finish dressing or change later.)    
Light candles by the set time. If you don't make it - to the minute - don't light them. Resolve to be more punctual next week.    
Take a deep breath, relax, and enter Shabbat. You should feel as if all your work is done now; don't worry about what isn't done. For twenty-five hours you don't have a care in the world. Shabbat shalom!    

List Your Personal Appliances

To run all Shabbat To be turned off all Shabbat To run on timers

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