Friday, November 18, 2016

Guests of Honor


"They (pretended) to eat"  [Vayeira 18:8]

The Torah states that the angels ate the food which Avraham served them, on which Rashi comments: "they pretended to eat".

It appears, therefore, that Avraham did not perform a mitzvah by feeding his guests, for ultimately they were angels who did not need to eat.  Thus: a) Avraham interrupted his audience with the Divine Presence unnecessarily, and b) How can we learn the principle that "welcoming guests is greater than welcoming the Divine Presence" [Shabbos 127a] from an incident where there were no real guests present?

Generally speaking, with acts of kindness, the primary focus is on the results of the mitzvah, i.e. the benefits given to the guests - food and drink etc.

The unique quality of the mitzvah of welcoming guests is that the primary focus is not on the benefits received by the guests, but rather on the good will demonstrated by the host.  In this light, it turns out that Avraham did fulfill the mitzvah of welcoming guests, in the most exemplary manner.

Based on Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Gutnick Chumash

5 comments:

Mr. Cohen said...

DID YOU KNOW:

In the Biblical Book of Joshua, chapter 23, verses 12 to 13, G_d reveals that:

If Jews intermarry with non-Jews, then He will NOT help the Jews conquer the Land of Israel; and even worse, the sin of intermarriage will cause the Jews to be driven out from the Land of Israel?

HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED that maybe -- just maybe -- the reason why so many people are trying to take the Land of Israel away from us Jews, is because thousands of Jews who live in Israel are intermarried with non-Jews?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cohen makes a great point. It is a catastrophe and the lack of emotional interest by most of our people is astonishing. We should all shrei gevald! B'H for kiruv, but sometimes after a couple, a Jew & non-Jew, are already married, they decide they wpuld like to lead a Jewish life and he or she converts. This is not the way. Jewish men with Jewish women is the only way! We have become so accustomed to this travesty and now we must wake up to the consequences that it has wrought.

Anonymous said...

In an ideal world, I would agree. However, we are all made in G-d's image, Jew and Gentile. We are all born with similar/same physical attributes, if normal, except our features, coloring etc may be different. Our bodies and minds all function in the same way. Jews may be more spiritual, but, biologically speaking, we are all the same species. A non Jew may become Jewish, but the final decision rests with men (rabbis, Beth Din) as to sincerity of the ger/geret. Isn't it better to become Jewish, after the fact of 'marriage' in the case of the non Jewish spouse, live a Jewish life thereater and raise Jewish children, rather than not to get married at all, or live a confused or totally non-religious Jewish life?
JS

Devorah said...

I'm sure someone else will have a response for you JS, but I know for a fact that rabbis at some Beth Dins do conversions for marriage simply because they want the man to have Jewish children. Whether or not the woman is totally sincere -and by sincere that should generally mean she wanted to be Jewish BEFORE she met this man she married - the rabbis figure that after the 3rd generation, the Jewishness will die out... i.e. the kids of this marriage will probably marry nonJews as technically their mother was an insincere convert. Whatever your opinion of this is, it is a fact.

It will need Moshiach to sort out all the insincere converts from the real ones. Meanwhile we cannot judge someone else, and there ARE sincere converts who do so to marry a Jew, it's just sometimes hard to distinguish them. But we are not their Judge, that is Hashem's job.

In no way should this comment be seen as anti-converts, I am just stating a fact.

And actually, my best best best friend for the last 30 years IS a genuine sincere convert with quite a few children and grandchildren, all frum Jews. And she only converted because she fell in love with a Jew..... so sometimes it IS genuine. Once again, we cannot judge anyone or their motives.

Devorah said...

Also, we are taught that in the case of a GENUINE convert to Judaism, the Jewish soul was always there, hanging over their head. When they immerse in the mikvah at conversion, the soul enters the body.

Of course with an insincere convert, the Jewish soul was never there in the first place and they probably are only ''Jewish'' in name only. When Moshiach comes, He will sort out all of this. May it be sooner rather than later !