Yom shishi, 7 Shevat 5777.
I am sure that in religious Jewish circles, the "correct" answer to the question of favorite day of the week is the holy Shabbat. The Sabbath certainly is a precious day, filled with good food, dedicated time with friends and family, time to read actual paper books, time for communing with oneself and with one's God. But I am not quite at the madraiga to put Shabbat first.
My very favorite day of the week is Friday, yom shishi (the sixth day) in Hebrew. Our Torah seems to skillfully combine the best of all human worlds for me on this day. While it's about preparing for our holiest day of the week, everything I love about being a physical human being is put toward this important task.
I will make a caveat here, for the sake of readers with small children. When I was a full-time mommy, I do not think that Erev Shabbat was my favorite day. It was a day when I had to feed lots of people who all wanted (or hated) different things, and who were intent on making messes faster than I could clean them up. My great goal on Friday was to NOT deserve going to Hell some time during the day for screaming at those of Hashem's precious children in my care. I usually failed. But this post is about Retired me, not Mommy me.
It would be untrue to say that I love cleaning. It's pretty far down on my list of fun activities. But what I do love is making everything mesudar -- organized, in its place, tidy -- for Shabbat. It gives me pleasure to wash all of the dishes and put them away, clearing the counters and tables, making them ready for their next "performance." I love to see the floor clean after a good sweeping and mopping, knowing that by candle-lighting time, it will say to me if not to the world that Ruti has it together.
Cooking for Shabbat is also a fulfilling activity for me. I get to take raw stuff created by God and put it together in new and interesting ways, the height of creative work (even above writing and painting and playing music) for me. And I know that each dish will say "I love you and care about what you like" to someone in my family.
There are special errands and rituals for Friday: my walk to collect the mail and the Torah Tidbits weekly magazine; recycling all of the various detritus of the week; shopping for the last minute items. The exchange of "boker tov" and "boker ohr" and "Shabbat shalom" with everyone I pass simply puts the frame around a lovely and purposeful walk throughout my yishuv.
There is a peace in this day that exists in no other: the peace of creating, while knowing that it is in the service of the day designated as the holiest day of the week.
I give myself and all of us the blessing that we can find the harmony of creativity in the service of something higher. I further bless young friends and family with little ones and demanding jobs that they will enjoy their days -- even the crazy ones! -- for long, healthy years, and that they will remember that there are wonderful things to look forward to, even after the kids have grown up and moved away.
What's your favorite day of the week, and why?
Erev Shabbat: Friday, the day leading up to the Sabbath
Boker tov: good morning
Boker ohr: literally "morning light," used as a response to boker tov
Yishuv: community, small town