Dassy Goldenberg’s sister-in-law was ill, and she wanted to do something as a zechus for her to have a refuah sheleimah. What kind of a personal kabbalah could she take on in her merit? What area of her life could she improve?
She decided to change the way she got ready for Shabbos. Little did she know that her idea would catch on and that thousands of women around the world would be inspired to do the same.
Friday was always the craziest day of Dassy’s week—never mind the cooking. As a florist, it was her main day of business. There were flowers for this kiddush or that one, bouquets that needed to be sent to kallahs, and customers who simply wanted Shabbos arrangements. And it seemed like almost everyone placed their order at the last minute on Friday afternoon.
“My children were completely neglected on Fridays, and by nighttime I’d be lying on the couch exhausted, barely able to come to the table. Each Friday I was busy making arrangements and sending out deliveries up until candle-lighting time. Then there was the time the delivery guy couldn’t find the right house so I had to run outside and deliver the flowers myself a few minutes before Shabbos. It irked me so much that my Fridays were ridiculous. But what could I do? This was my parnasah.”
Still, “Money or no money, if things continued the way they were, my kids were going to end up hating Shabbos, chas v’shalom. So I decided to stop doing business after chatzos on Friday afternoons. Deliveries would still go out, but I wouldn’t accept any new orders.”
It wasn’t easy. That first week she received lots of phone calls after the deadline. Dassy had to say no.
“But it’s a kallah! They just got engaged last night!”
“We have to have flowers for Shabbos! You always took our orders on Friday afternoons!”
“But my wife is in the hospital and it’s her birthday! What am I going to do?”
It was very difficult. Each caller had a very compelling reason for needing her services desperately.
“I had to keep biting my lip every time I said no. Each time a call came in I thought, This arrangement would pay for my child’s tutor on Sunday or This one would pay that bill. I needed to make money. But was I doing the right thing? Yes. I had to stick to my guns. I wanted to do this for my sister-in-law.”
That first week Dassy already saw a difference in her household. She was calmer, her children were more relaxed, and Shabbos was altogether different. And over the next few weeks and months it got even easier.
“It wasn’t only easy; it became something I was unwilling to give up. It felt so natural not working on Friday that I felt it would be a nightmare if I had to! I also saw that the more jobs I said no to on Friday, the more brachah I saw during the week. I was making the money anyway, so why would I want to give up my Erev Shabbos?”
What’s the inyan of not working past chatzos on Erev Shabbos? In the booklet “Halachically Speaking,” Volume 4, Issue 4 (in which all piskei halachah were reviewed by Rav Yisroel Belsky, zt”l) Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits explains:
“One who does work in the afternoon of Erev Shabbos does not see brachah from that work (Shulchan Aruch 251:1; the same applies to Erev Yom Tov and Erev Yom Kippur). The reason is that one has to show honor to the Shabbos. There is no issur involved when one works later than he is supposed to on Erev Shabbos. There is also a dispute as to when in the afternoon this halachah applies. Some say it begins 6½ hours into the day while others are more lenient and maintain it starts 9½ hours into the day. …However, anyone who fears the word of Hashem should listen to the halachos set by Chazal and refrain from doing melachah after Minchah Ketanah.”
Soon Dassy decided to take it to the next level: She wouldn’t take orders on Fridays at all.