Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Rabbi Abhors Thursdays

"This must be Thursday," said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer, "I never could get the hang of Thursdays."
(Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

While it is true that, unlike Arthur Dent’s Earth, my planet does not normally get blown up on Thursdays, those days of the week are no less traumatic for me. More traumatic, actually; were Earth to simply disappear on Thursday, I would not need to worry about Shabbat derashot and classes and the kiddush and Sunday’s shiurim, etc.

Of course, the most likely timing is that I would work insanely all day Thursday to prepare the various items, finish or retire for the night at 11:58 PM, only to have the world blow up at 11:59 PM.

Some rabbis, I have heard, are more bothered by Fridays, but not me. I think it’s because I have low expectations for Fridays; I write them off in advance as utter chaos, try not to schedule any serious work for those days, and then survive them by running from one thing to the next to the next.

Thursdays, on the other hand, are a disaster. Even though I set aside time to prepare the derashah etc, other communal and individual needs inevitably develop and require immediate attention, and by the end of the day I’m frantically thinking, “I can’t afford to leave any of this for Friday!” Not to mention I have a standing 5 AM appointment on Friday mornings, which (theoretically) necessitates getting to bed on Thursday night by 11 PM…

The gemara agrees with me, I’m happy to say, that Thursday is supposed to be the prep day for Shabbos. The gemara talks about shopping for Shabbos on Thursday and taking haircuts on Thursday; they knew what I am talking about. Yosef Mokir Shavi (Shabbos 119a) may be running around buying up all the fish on Friday afternoon, but I’m with Shammai (Beitzah 16a) – if I have to choose between the chance of landing Yosef’s world-class gem or keeping my sanity, I’ll go with the sanity, thank you very much.

Of course, you might ask, “Why is this post here on Tuesday? Thursday isn’t for another two days!”

But if you have been reading attentively, you know why – because every Thursday I think about writing this post, but the world intrudes, as do my Shabbos preparations, and it never happens. So here it is, on Tuesday, and should the world not explode on Thursday, feel free to re-read it then.


  1. LOL. Good idea- write the post on Tuesday. After all, it's preparation for Thursday...

  2. Chanie-
    Thanks. Of course, I could actually time-delay the post so that it publishes on Thursday, too.

  3. Amen v'Amen. It doesn't help that everyone is thinking that since it's not Friday, you must have PLENTY of free time....sigh.

  4. Ima-
    On a similar note: People are very considerate about not flooding me with issues in the week before Rosh HaShanah, but then the week after Succos becomes a landslide.