Sefer Chasidim: Preparing For Shabbat
The Sages said, (Kohelet Rabbah 1:36) “If you prepare on Friday, you will have food on Shabbat.” (This Midrash is a metaphor of using this life to prepare for The World to Come – the Eternal Shabbat. Slygew) And so, you should be very eager to make preparations for Shabbat and scurry about excitedly like a man who is told that the queen or a bride and her entourage are coming to lodge in his house. What does he do? Ecstatically, he exclaims, “What an honor they are rendering to me by coming to stay in my house!” He tells his servants, “Get the house ready, tidy up, sweep, and prepare the beds for the honored guests. I will go myself and buy the best meat and fish I can get for them.” He then personally stands in the kitchen to prepare the dishes, even if he has a thousand servants.
Now, what greater guest is there than Shabbat which is called a “bride,” a “queen,” (Bava Kammah 32b) and “a delight?” (Isaiah 58:13) How much more that the master of the house should take the trouble to make the preparations, even if he has a thousand servants, like Rava – the Talmudic Sage – who himself salted a fish in honor of Shabbat. (Shabbat 117b, 119a) – Sefer Chasidim #149, Translated by Avraham Yaakov Finkel