Shabbat 119 - Each one has his own mitzvah

Although one must perform all the mitzvot in the Torah in order to complete his spiritual ascent, it is recommended for one to choose a specific mitzvah, especially dear to him, and fulfill it in every detail, since it is likely that his current reincarnation was for this purpose. For example, Rav Nachman said, "May my reward come from my carefully observing the three meals of Shabbat." Rabbi Yose was extremely modest and pliable to the demands of his scholarly colleagues. Abbaye, when he saw a young scholar complete a tractate of the Talmud, would make a feast for everyone.

Following are some ways in which the Sages used to honor the Shabbat. Rav Abahu would sit on an ivory stool and fan the fire for cooking; Rav Safra would singe the head of an animal; Rabbah and Rav Yosef would split wood; Rav Zeira would kindle the fire.

Yosef Mokir Shabi (Yosef Who Honors Shabbat) would spare no expense for Shabbat. There was a rich man in his neighborhood  to whom astrologers predicted that all his wealth will go to this Yosef. He sold it all, bought an extremely valuable pearl with the money, and had it sown into his hat, to alwayscarry it with him. However, as he was passing a bridge, the wind blew the hat off his head and a fish swallowed it, fishermen caught the fish and Yosef bought it - since there was no one else who would buy such a fish this late, close to the beginning of the Shabbat. He then found the pearl and sold it for thirteen attics full of golden dinars. A certain elder then met him and told him the rule, "He who borrows for the sake of Shabbat, Shabbat repays him."

Art: Claude Oscar Monet - The Railway Bridge At Argenteuil