Superficially looked at, Shabbat is a terrible time, Heaven forbid. Why? This is forbidden and that is forbidden. On top of that, there is a whole load of things that we are obligated to perform on the holy day. Doesn’t sound like fun, does it?
Some people think that G^d is a very stern Supervis^r, Who tolerates no frivolity. Then a wish for enjoyment would be actually rebellion.
Not so in Judaism. The Creat^r has no limits and neither has His generosity. But in order to give, He needed to create the whole Universe, put in it creatures who have Free Will, and reward them for making the right choices. This reward would be in this world and in the Afterlife.
So, whatever a Jewish life might be all about, it should give you a great life here and a great life after death. And then, the question how of to enjoy Shabbat is completely relevant. And here are my suggestions to get there.
1. Injunctions and Directives are emergency messages. Ideally, we should rather follow the Guidelines for Shabbat from our free will enthusiastically. Only when we fail to adhere to them, the Divine Dos and the Don’ts must kick in and save us from misbehaving. When we love to be Shabbat observant, we are already not limited or hindered by Divine Instructions.
2. Nothing is forbidden on Shabbat. It’s not that we must not cook on Shabbat. We don’t need to. It’s not that we may not travel on Shabbat. We don’t have to. Some still say: “I can’t live without a smart-phone.” But more and more people understand how much we need a mobile-phone-free day each week.
3. Focus on all the good that comes into reach when we keep Shabbat. Having time to be pleased with what is (instead of being obsessed with what still needs to be improved). Extra time to pray, sing, be together with family and friends, eat, sleep, be intimate, and “learn Torah.” The branches of the tree are not just cut off. Rather, the tree is cut into shape.