During World War II, the Nazis were fast approaching Eretz Yisrael, and the Jews there were gripped with fear. Special prayer gatherings were held, and people pleaded to Hashem for protection. There was one Rabbi, Rav Shlomo Zviel, who was unaware of the situation. On Friday night, after he recited kiddush, somebody informed him of the imminent threat. He was very upset.
“Why are you telling me this only now?” he asked. “You should have told me this before I recited kiddush!” He explained that when we recite ויכולו Friday night, we become Hashem’s partner in creation, and partners can influence one another. When we declare at kiddush that Hashem created and governs the world, we become His partners, and He then takes our requests more seriously. This, then, is the most opportune time to ask for His help. The Rabbi thus regretted not having known about the crisis before kiddush, at the moment he forged his “partnership” with the Almighty.
Shabbat is far more than enduring the inconvenience of all the restrictions. It is about becoming Hashem’s partner, and accessing the endless benefits that this partnership yields.