HOW THE CHACHAMIM PREPARED FOR SHABBOS
R. Chanina would dress nicely at the coming of Shabbos, and say 'Come, let us go to greet Shabbos the queen!'
R. Yanai would get dressed and say 'Come bride, come bride!'
Rabah bar Rav Huna visited the house of Rabah bar Rav Nachman; they brought three Sa'im of wafers with oil (so he could choose the nicest).
Rabah bar Rav Huna: Did you prepare because you knew that I was coming?
Rabah bar Rav Nachman: Are you more important than Shabbos?! (We prepared to honor Shabbos.)
R. Aba bought 13 Dinars of beef from 13 butchers (to taste from the best); he would pay them at the door (alternatively - he would bring meat to the door of his house, and before going to buy more, he would command his servants) and say 'Hurry up'!
R. Avahu would sit on an ivory chair and fan the fire;
Rav Anan would wear black garments on Erev Shabbos (to show that we do not consider ourselves too important to engage in cooking);
(Tana d'vei R. Yishmael): One should not mix a cup for his master in the same garments he wore while cooking food.
Rav Safra would roast the head of an animal, Rava would salt a fish, Rav Huna would light the lamp, Rav Papa would twine wicks, Rav Chisda would cut beets, Rabah and Rav Yosef would chop wood, R. Zeira would kindle the fire with twigs;
Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak would go back and forth carrying nice Kelim and foods to get ready - he said, if R. Ami and R. Asi were coming, I would toil like this for them (all the more so, I should do so for Shabbos)!
A certain man Yosef was known to cherish Shabbos; astrologers told a rich Nochri in his neighborhood that Yosef will consume all of his wealth (Maharsha - he already spent the amount of your wealth to honor Shabbos, he will be paid back). The Nochri sold all his possessions and bought a gem; he made a setting for it in his hat and put it there.
When the Nochri was crossing a bridge; a wind blew his hat into the river; a fish ate the gem.
The fish was caught on Erev Shabbos; people told the one who caught it to see if Yosef would buy it. He did; he found the gem inside, he sold it for gold coins that filled 13 attics.
An elder: He who borrows to honor Shabbos is paid back by Shabbos!
HONORING SHABBOS THROUGH EATING
Question (Rebbi): What is the merit of rich people in Eretz Yisrael?
Answer (R. Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi): They take Ma'aser - it says "Aser Te'aser" - tithe in order that Tis'asher (you will become rich).
Question (Rebbi): What is the merit of rich people in Bavel?
Answer (R. Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi): They honor Torah.
Question (Rebbi): What is the merit of rich people in other places?
Answer (R. Yishmael b'Rebbi Yosi): They honor Shabbos;
(R. Chiya bar Aba): I was once hosted by a man in Ludkiyah; they brought in front of him a gold table which had to be carried by 16 people. Sixteen silver chains were fixed in it, bowls, cups, flasks and plates were fixed in it, and all kinds of special foods and spices.
When they bring it they say "La'Shem ha'Aretz u'Mlo'ah"; when they remove it they say "Ha'Shomayim Shomayim la'Shem veha'Aretz Nosan li'Vnei Adam".
I asked him how he merited this. He told me that he was a butcher; he would save every nice animal for Shabbos. I blessed him.
Question (Kaiser): Why do Tavshilim of Shabbos smell so nice?
Answer (R. Yehoshua): We have a special spice called Sheves (dill) which we put into it.
Kaiser: Give us some of it!
Yehoshua: It only works for one who guards Shabbos.
Question (Reish Galusa): [It already says "V'Korasa la'Shabos Oneg" -] what does "Li'Kdosh Hash-m Mechubad" refer to?
Answer (Rav Hamnuna): This refers to Yom Kipur, on which we do not eat or drink - the Torah tells us to honor it with clean clothing.
(Rav): "V'Chibadto" - you should honor Shabbos by eating the meal earlier than on a weekday;
(Shmuel): You should eat later than on a weekday. (He and Rav do not argue, both hold like Rav Papa below.)
Question (Benei Rav Papa bar Aba): We have meat and wine all week long - how should we make Shabbos different?
Answer (Rav Papa): If you normally eat early, eat later on Shabbos; if you normally eat late, eat earlier.
In summer, Rav Sheshes would seat Talmidim [on Shabbos] in a place where the sun would beat on them [at a proper time to leave to eat; Ben Yehoyada - they would not leave, just they would move around, so Rav Sheshes (who was blind) would realize that it was time to stop teaching]; in winter he sat them where they would be in the shade [and get cold].
When R. Zeira would see pairs of Talmidim learning on Shabbos, he would tell them not to Mechalel Shabbos (by neglecting to eat).
OTHER WAYS TO HONOR SHABBOS
(Rava): Even someone praying alone on Shabbos night must say "Va'Ychulu [ha'Shomayim veha'Aretz...]"
(Rav Hamnuna): If one says "Va'Ychulu" on Shabbos night, the Torah considers him a partner in creation - we read it 'Va'Yichlu' - they (Hash-m and this person) finished. Maharsha - he publicizes that Hash-m created the world.)
Question (R. Elazar): What is the source that speech is like an action (Anaf Yosef - so one's speech is restricted on Shabbos, just like his actions)?
Answer: "Bi'Dvar Hash-m Shomayim Na'asu".
(Rav Chisda): If one says "Va'Ychulu" on Shabbos night, the two angels that accompany a person on Shabbos put their hands on his head and say "V'Sar Avonecha v'Chatosecha Techupar". (Ben Yehoyada - his sins are forgiven in order that he will be considered a Kosher witness; Etz Yosef - it is very difficult to guard oneself from transgressing Shabbos - he merits help from Shomayim not to sin, even b'Shogeg.)
(Beraisa): On Shabbos, when a person leaves synagogue he is accompanied by one good angel and one bad angel;
If when he comes home the Ner is lit, the table and beds are set, the good angel prays that it should be this way next Shabbos - the bad angel must answer 'Amen' against his will; if not, the bad angel prays that it should be this way next Shabbos - the good angel must answer 'Amen' against his will.
(R. Elazar): One should always set his table on Erev Shabbos [for the evening meal], even if he only plans to eat k'Zayis;
(R. Chanina): One should always set his table on Motzei Shabbos [for a meal, like one escorts a king when he leaves], even if he only plans to eat k'Zayis.
[On Motzei Shabbos, drinking and washing with] hot water, and eating hot bread heal;
On Motzei Shabbos they would prepare a calf that was a third grown (alternatively - third born from its mother) for R. Avahu - he would eat the kidney;
When his son Avimi grew up he suggested that they could spare this expense by saving a kidney [from what was prepared for the sake of Shabbos] for Motzei Shabbos. They did so - a lion came and ate it (i.e. a calf, in place of what he normally slaughtered on Motzei Shabbos).
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi): If one answers 'Amen Yehei Shmei Raba' will all his Ko'ach (concentration), harsh decrees against him are torn up (Rashi; Maharsha - if one answers 'Amen Yehei Shmei Raba', Hash-m uses all His Ko'ach ("Yigdal Na Ko'ach Hash-m" - Bamidbar 14:17) to tear harsh decrees against him.)
"Bi'fro'a Pera'os b'Yisrael b'Hisnadev Am Borachu Hash-m" - the reason the decrees were cancelled is because they blessed Hash-m.
(R. Chiya bar Aba): Even if he did idolatry, he will be forgiven - it says here "Bi'fro'a", like [it says regarding the golden calf], "Ki Faru'a Hu".
(Reish Lakish): If one answers 'Amen' with all his Ko'ach, gates of Gan Eden are opened for him [to enter] - "Pischu She'arim v'Yavo Goy Tzadik Shomer Emunim - we read this 'she'Omrim Amen'.
Question: What does 'Amen' mean?
Answer (R. Chanina): It is the acronym of 'Kel Melech Ne'eman'. (Tosfos - one should have this in mind when saying it.)
CAUSES OF THE CHURBAN
(Rav Yehudah brei d'Rav Shmuel): Fires are common only in a place where Shabbos is desecrated - "V'Im Lo Sishme'u Elai Lekadesh Es Yom ha'Shabbos...v'Hitzati Esh...v'Lo Sichveh".
Question: What does it mean "V'Lo Sichveh"?
Answer (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): It will be at a time when people are not around to extinguish it.
(Abaye): Yerushalayim was destroyed on account of Chilul Shabbos - "Umi'Shabsosai Helimu Eineihem va'Echal b'Socham".
(R. Avahu): Yerushalayim was destroyed because they neglected to say Shma morning and evening - it says "Hoy Mashkimei va'Boker Shechar Yirdofu", and "V'Hayah Chinor va'Nevel...v'El Po'al Hash-m Lo Yabitu" (they do not declare His unity over His creations) - "Lachen Golah Ami mi'Bli Da'as".
(Rav Hamnuna): Yerushalayim was destroyed because they stopped children from learning from their Rebbi - "Shefoch Al Olal ba'Chutz" - the anger was poured out because children were outside.
(Ula): Yerushalayim was destroyed because people felt no shame in front of each other - "Hovishu Ki So'evah Asu Gam Bosh Lo Yevoshu".
(R. Yitzchak): Yerushalayim was destroyed because they equated small people to important people - "V'Hayah Cha'Am ka'Kohen; Hibok Tibok ha'Aretz".
(Rav Amram): Yerushalayim was destroyed because people did not rebuke each other - "Hayu Sareha k'Ayalim Lo Motz'u Mir'eh" - just like one ram's head is next to another's tail, Yisrael of that generation buried their faces in the ground and did not rebuke each other.
(Rav Yehudah): Yerushalayim was destroyed because they disgraced Chachamim - "V'Yihyu Mal'ivim b'Malachei Elokim u'Vozim Devarav umi'Tate'im bi'Nvi'av Ad Alos Chamas Hash-m..."
Question: What does it "Ad Ein Marpei"?
Answer (Rav Yehudah): If one disgraces Chachamim, there is no cure for his affliction.
Question (Rav Yehudah): What does it mean "Al Tig'u bi'Mshichai uvi'Nvi'ai Al Tare'u"?
(Reish Lakish): The world endures only on account of the breath (words) of children learning from their Rebbi.
Rav Papa (to Abaye): Why isn't our Torah good enough?
Abaye: You cannot compare breath [from a mouth] that sinned to breath free of sin.
(Reish Lakish): We do not interrupt children learning from their Rebbi, even to build the Beis ha'Mikdash.
Reish Lakish (to R. Yehudah Nesi'ah): I have a tradition from my (alternatively - your) fathers that any city without children learning from their Rebbi will be destroyed [with a remnant];
(Ravina): It will be destroyed without a remnant.