What to Do on a Long Shabbos Afternoon?


I would like to just post a simple question to pose to the BT blogosphere:

What is a young, single BT girl to do on a long Shabbos afternoon?

I live in a small, heimish Jewish community where most girls are either married, or single and living with family.

There is usually about one class held per week, but afterwards I’m left without anything to do. Shall I start a chavrusa?

I feel bad bothering families and hanging out until Shabbos is over, so I need something to do rather than being an uninvited guest in some peoples’ homes when they would rather be napping on Shabbos afternoon. I do like taking their kids to the park while the parents nap.

I cannot sit in my apartment all day and do nothing!

Your ideas, please.


Devorah K. =)

13 comments on “What to Do on a Long Shabbos Afternoon?

  1. I believe ross was referring to the women’s ahavas Yisroel project; you can find their newsletter at ayproject.com. It is a national (maybe international) weekly meeting by women and their neighbors, to discuss topics of ahavas israel. The meetings occur on Shabbos and are usually between 1/2 to 1 hour long. There is usually a local coordinator if you live in a sizable community, but if not, there is a contact person on the website–perhaps the poster here would want to start a group.

  2. One more idea – ask about the exact borders/extent of the t’chum — and then get a friend to walk with you around the entire perimeter of it! Burns more calories than napping and is something fun in a geeky sort of halachic way.

  3. There are some great ideas posted here!

    In addition:

    You mention that there are other single women in your community. Invite some for lunch. Or invite friends from other communities.

    A shul I used to go to when I was single would have a lovely “Perek in the Park” shiur in the later afternoon. Then we’d all convene at the shul for Shalash Seudas. Is there someone in the community who would be willing to give a shiur for a group?

    It’s not a bad idea to experience other communities (assuming they’re geographically accessible) on Shabbos.

  4. A lot of the suggestions in the comments are original ideas that the writer probably didn’t think of. Also, “Books are your friends” is really key. SET ASIDE BOOKS BEFORE SHABBOS. If you’re rummaging through the books for “something to read” right after benching it will be a long Shabbos. (Ask your local orthodox rabbi though about what is or is not allowed for Shabbos reading. The answer may very well depend on who is asking so ask for yourself.)

    It can be a big challenge to be single on a long Shabbos day. Sure, when it was me I made a virtue out of necessity — i.e., no one would miss me if I disappeared for a while — and would don my secret crime-fighter’s costume and vanquish evildoers (without doing melacha of course, which was the theme of my superhero identity, Shabbos Man) throughout late-1980’s Chicagoland. I think most young ladies would find this to be inappropriate for them, however.

    I imagine this is also harder for young ladies in some places and contexts than for young men, for a number of obvious reasons.

    In that spirit, it might be worth considering what not to do on a long Shabbos alone.

    Don’t make yourself “Shabbos Party,” or — boy or girl — you may find yourself alone and single for a long time. Seriously, isolation, food and time are a bad combination, especially among those of us who eat for comfort.

    Although the suggestions for Torah learning are good ones, I might caution the writer not to set up a study “program” so ambitious for all those hours that you end up beating yourself up for giving up out of boredom. All that “learning” is not for everyone, all the time.

    Finding new places to spend Shabbos, or Shabbos meals, is probably a good idea, too. Novelty is the essential antidote to boredom. This is not always as easy as it sounds, but if you are in a place where you are single but not getting Shabbos invitations (which was never the case in Chicago!) you may want to revisit why you are in that place.

    And, really, do take a nap.

  5. 1. learn with a chevrusa
    2. organize or teach a study group
    3. intergenerational activity: youth or senior
    4. be a big sister to a younger child from a single parent home
    5. late afternoon walk
    6. host 3rd meal once a month
    any or all of the above

  6. Start “Morah Devorah’s Shabbos Play Group.” Place a small ad in your local shul newsletter (or post it to your shul Bulletin Board) that “Morah Devorah” is starting a Shabbos Play Group for kids from 3 to 11, from 2 to 6 PM every Shabbos afternoon until Labor Day. You could charge a minimal amount just to cover the cost of healthy snacks and drinks. If the group becomes too large, you could draft another young woman into the club.

    Or you could focus on doing chesed for one specific family each week.

    Did Mrs. XYZ just give birth? Mazel Tov – you take out the other kids that Shabbos so Mrs. XYZ can sleep when the new baby does.

    Does the Plony family have a special-needs child? Take that special needs child to the park so that everyone else in the family can have a quiet Shabbos.

    Is Mrs. ABC the caretaker for an elderly parent with physical and/or mental challenges? Give Mrs. ABC a few hours off and come in and entertain the elderly relative.

    As mentioned in the other great comments, there’s a lot of learning you can get done on a Shabbos afternoon. There’s a four-volume set on Hilchos Shabbos – The 39 Melachos that is a wonderful choice for Shabbos afternoon reading. Also there is the new edition of the translated Kitzur Shulchan Aruch that just came out.

    HKBH gave you a great gift. Use it wisely and well! Tizku Le Mitzvot!

  7. Wow, thanks everyone for the advice!! I’ve been reading tehillim, actually, which has helped. I’ll look into your great suggestions! Thank you, thank you! =)

  8. Long Shabbat afternoons are an excellent time to learn Parshat HaShavua, twice in Hebrew, once in English, and once with Targum Onkelos. And if you still have time, get a head start on Rashi.

    Studying Shmirat HaLashon is ALWAYS an excellent idea.

    Rema comment on Shulchan Aruch, Chelek Orach Chaim, Siman 290, Sif 2:
    Workers and ordinary people [literally, home owners] who do not occupy themselves with Torah [study] during all the weekdays must occupy themselves with Torah more on
    Shabbat, while Torah scholars should spend a little more time [on Shabbat] enjoying eating and drinking, because they enjoy their studies all the weekdays.

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  9. Even though I’m a man and probably not invited to this forum, I still have a suggestion from watching the ladies in town. (NO, NO, I don’t mean I watch ladies, I mean that I hear about some of things they do…of course, I’m in shul learning gemorrah, but that’s not for you. But that’s a different blog.)

    It seems that there are groups which form late afternoon where they discuss happy topics, like spreading and promoting ahava amongst each other, and judging favorably, etc. The materials they use are from some organization, either the Chofetz Chaim Heriatage Foundation, or perhaps elsewhere. (I’m not there, so I don’t know.) The ladies bring their kids, so it’s one big party, but without food…no one expects the hostess to entertain, just sit and chat. It’s a great concept, as long as the conversation doesn’t drift to certain topics, like specific people, or something else which can lead to loshon hara.

    That’s it…excuse my intrusion…back to my gemorrah.

  10. Maybe start a small shabbos afternoon group for young girls. Or coed if its a small community. You’d need to prepare stories, divrei torah, (healthy) treats, etc.

    You might want to ask a shailoh about reading secular books on shabbos, non fiction – history or science – or even fiction.

    Make a fancy salad for shalosh seudos?

    What do you do on long weekday afternoons?

  11. Yes, get a chavrusa!
    Invite other single women to a weekly or monthly shalosh seudos.
    Does your shul have a library to hang out in?
    Taking kids to the park is a great idea!
    Have a shalosh seudos or a brachos party for kids.
    Start a shabbos club for kids and provide afternoon story time and snacks.
    NAP! :)
    Think if there’s a chesed you can do for someone in the community.
    Does anyone need help to get to mincha (i.e. in a wheelchair)??

  12. Reach out to others in a worse situation.Shabbos is a great time to visit a hospital and/or nursing home or an old or disabled person who can’t get out. Join the bikur cholim or if there isn’t one, start one.

    Give yourself Projects like to finishing Mesilat Yesharim or something the like use the time time to grow spirituality.Make short term and long term goals hence giving your Shabbos afternoons Purpose. I would highly suggest all of Reb Shimshon’s Pincus English books especially the Shabbos one and the Women’s one have a Meaningful and Purposeful Shabbos

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