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Shabbath Prepares Itself - A True Story

Rabbi Ya'aqob Menashe
Sunday, January 28, 2018/Shebat 12, 5778

Rabbi Yosef Haim Sonnenfeld, 'a"h, used to visit Rabbi Shelomo Alfandri, 'a"h, and ask him She-eloth (Halakhaic questions), which the latter would answer. On one occasion, Rabbi Alfandri told Rabbi Sonnenfeld to go visit a Talmid Hakham in Jerusalem, Rabbi Yehazqel 'Ezra, and that meeting him would be beneficial to Rabbi Sonnenfeld.

A few days later, on a Friday afternoon, he went to visit him. When he was at Rabbi 'Ezra's front door, he heard his wife say, "What shall we do? It's time to prepare for Shabbath and we have nothing in the house". Rabbi Sonnenfeld knocked on the door and entered the house. He and Rabbi Yehazqel 'Ezra discussed Torah, one would ask and the other would answer. They kept this up till the wife once again asked in a worried tone, "You are studying Torah, but what about Shabbath? From where will I produce wine for Qiddush?".

Rabbi Sonnenfeld picked up a box of snuff that was on the table and asked if he could take a pinch to smell it. He pretended to be enthralled by its smell and used the opportunity to slip a gold coin into the box. A little while later, Rabbi Sonnenfeld got up to leave and Rabbi Yehazqel 'Ezra accompanied him out of the house.

When he returned, he saw his wife looking worried. He said that the pious say that Shabbath prepares itself, and all we have to do is make a little effort. "Let's smell a little something in honor of Shabbath". When he opened the box he saw the gold coin. He gave it to his wife and laughed. He said, "You see? This is our reward for our effort to prepare for Shabbath".

(See Dibrei Mordekhai, Shemoth, Beshallah, Ma'aseh Rab)

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Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, Rabbi Yechezkel Ezra

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