Halacha for Wednesday 17 Av 5777 August 9 2017

Shopping in Honor of Shabbat

Question: I usually buy many special types of food in honor of Shabbat and my wife gets upset with me that I am spending too much in honor of Shabbat and not enough money remains to cover the other household expenses. Who is correct here?

Answer: Although there is a great Mitzvah to honor the Shabbat and make it enjoyable, nevertheless, this issue must be weighed carefully. Rabbeinu Yehuda Ha’Chassid writes in his Sefer Chassidim (Chapter 863): “One should not say, ‘I will purchase delicacies in honor of Shabbat’ when one knows one will end up fighting with one’s wife or parents and about such a person does the verse state (Mishlei 17), ‘Better is dry bread and tranquility with it than a house filled with feasting and strife.’ Similarly, the verse states (Yeshaya 58), “And you shall call the Shabbat a delight and the holy of Hashem honorable and you shall honor it’-this is indeed the honor of Shabbat by not fighting on Shabbat.”

The Tikkunei Zohar (Tikkun 48, page 85a) interprets the verse in the Torah (Shemot 35), “You shall not kindle a flame in any of your settlements on the day of Shabbat” to mean that anyone who becomes angry on Shabbat is considered to have kindled the fire of Gehinnom on Shabbat. Indeed, our Sages taught (Shabbat 23b) that if one has only enough money for either the Shabbat candles or wine for Kiddush, it is preferable for one to buy the Shabbat candles, for the candles will prevent fights from ensuing in the home (because of their light). How then can one actively cause there to be strife in the house on the holy day of Shabbat?

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l (in his Chazon Ovadia-Shabbat, Volume 1, page 20) quotes the words of Maran Ha’Chida (in his Moreh Be’Etzbah, page 140) who writes that Friday afternoon is especially susceptible to fights between husband and wife or the head of the household and his servants and the Evil Inclination does his utmost to create strife. Thus, a G-d-fearing individual should do his utmost to suppress his Evil Inclination and abstain from any form of anger and strife; on the contrary, one should always pursue peace and love.

The Gemara (Gittin 52a) recounts that once, there were two people whom the Satan instigated against one another and they would fight with one another every Shabbat night. Rabbi Meir arrived at this place and prevented these people from fighting for three Shabbatot until he was eventually successful in restoring peace between them. They then heard the Satan exclaiming, “Woe unto me, for Rabbi Meir has thrown me out of my house.”

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