When we first moved to Israel, the government was talking about making a five day work week. Yes - great. That's what I miss - I want Sunday. I needed a Sunday morning to walk around in my fluffy slippers and robe and leisurely drink my coffee. I needed a Sunday to throw the kids in the car and drive for two hours to see the cousins. I needed a Sunday, but I didn't really get it.
I got Chol HaMoed, where no one expects you to work (although sometimes I had to), and the only real Sunday if you live outside of Jerusalem - it's called Shushan Purim.
But I never got my Sunday.
I still feel that I miss my outside-Gush Etzion family. I still miss the little Sunday afternoon tiyulim (family outing). I still miss the fluffy slippers and hot coffee with the big Sunday paper.
And yet, I have gotten used to Friday.
When Fridays were first suggested for the national day off, I balked. What good does that do? You are still stuck in the house, because you have to cook. You're still unable to take a real tiyul, because it's too close to Shabbat.
And in my case, I still worked half a day and then rushed my kishkes out to cook Shabbat meals. In fact, I worked so hard, that often I worked until the moment of Shabbat and got even grumpier every week about the Friday day off.
Whenever someone asked me what I'd like to change in my life, I always said, "I'd like Fridays to change into Erev Shabbat." They never did. I tried one or two or three weeks to make Fridays special, but I failed.
Recently, I can't say exactly when, because I don't remember, I started dedicating Fridays to preparing for Shabbat. I stopped working Fridays on Voices Magazine (except when there's a real emergency deadline) and I work on preparing for Shabbat instead. I clean my chickens while listening to Avraham Fried, Shwecky and Chevra. I call my friends and they call me. I smell the chicken soup and I peel the zucchinis. And I make sure the table is set more than an hour before Shabbat.
And over time, I have noticed something wonderful - Friday isn't that uchy unappreciated day anymore. I don't regret the tiyul (actually, I hanging up now, so I can go visit my son and his family in Eastern Gush Etzion for an hour).
I still miss my farther-away family, but I make sure to visit them at other times and ask them to visit me too.
I have come to appreciate and sense the holiness of Erev Shabbat. It actually makes me appreciate Shabbat all the more, and it's a very wonderful harmonious feeling. I walk a little slower, I smile a little more, I drink my coffee leisurely, I walk onto my porch for a look around the neighborhood once or twice, I open my oven, I take a whiff of the scents of Shabbat, and I hum when I sweep my kitchen floor.
Shabbat is coming, and now in my house, it begins on Friday. Hooray.