Preparing for Shabbat is an essential ingredient in showing delight in Shabbat. On today’s daf we learn that the Sages went to great lengths to play an active role in those preparations.
Rabbi Abba bought thirteen plain staters [astirei peshitei] worth half a zuz of meat from thirteen butchers in deference to Shabbat, so that he would have various types of fine meat.
And he would place the meats at the door hinge at the entrance to his house to hurry to bring another type of meat. And he said to the cooks, in order to rush them: Hurry and prepare it, hurry and prepare it.
The Gemara also relates: Rabbi Abbahu would sit on an ivory chair [takhteka] and fan the fire cooking the food for Shabbat, in order to play a role in preparations for Shabbat.
This anecdote teaches that even a wealthy person, like Rabbi Abbahu, should participate in the Shabbat preparations. Indeed, Rabbi Abbahu showed deference to the mitzva by sitting on an expensive ivory chair.
Rav Anan would don a simple black garment for the Shabbat preparations, as the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: While wearing the garments in which he cooked a pot of food for his master, one should not dilute a cup of wine for his Master. One should wear a garment appropriate for the task at hand.
Apparently, Rav Anan disagrees with Rabbi Abbahu and maintains that one should wear simple, not special, clothing for the preparations of Shabbat, as per the statement of Rabbi Yishmael (Rabbi Elazar Moshe Horovitz).
Rav Safra would roast the head of an animal to prepare it for Shabbat.
Rava salted a shibuta fish in deference to Shabbat.
Rav Huna kindled lamps in deference to Shabbat.
Rav Pappa spun the wicks for the Shabbat lamp.
Rav Ḥisda cut the beets in preparation for Shabbat.
Rabba and Rav Yosef cut wood.
Rabbi Zeira prepared thin sticks for kindling.
Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak would load objects on his shoulder and enter, load objects on his shoulder and exit. He said: If Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Asi happened to visit me, would I not load objects on my shoulder before them? So too, it is fitting to do so in deference to Shabbat.