So, seeing how key Shabbat is to the workings of the universe and to our spiritual stature, as well as to the level of holiness in the world, it should really come as no surprise that we’re expected to distinguish Shabbat from the rest of the week. But how? By somehow being otherworldly the whole day long? By perhaps contemplating the universe that Shabbat is so pivotal to?
No. Instead we’re asked to do — and avoid doing — certain specific things on Shabbat. After all, G-d purposely bound our souls to the physical universe and He asked us to incorporate that realm into the Shabbat, even though the two are antithetical.
But as we just indicated, there are actually two aspects of Shabbat: there are things we *do* to celebrate the holiness of the day, and things we *avoid doing* to leave the unholiness of the week behind. And that plays itself out as follows.
We enable our souls to breathe-in some of the air of Heaven, if you will, while on earth by doing certain specific things to observe the day’s holiness (like extending our prayers, resting, enjoying leisurely and resplendent meals, etc.). And we see to it that the soul isn’t overwhelmed by unholiness by shunning some of the worldly things on Shabbat that we’d be engaged in the rest of the week (the “39 Malachot”).