Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Inviting Guests

In the past few weeks we discussed one of the Mitzvot (commandments) that involve bestowing kindness to our fellow man. Another of those mitzvot is that of inviting and hosting guests in one’s house. A person who does this mitzva (having guests is known as hachnasat orchim in Hebrew) does in fact fulfill more than one mitzva; it is included in the mitzva of ‘love thy neighbor like yourself’ because we would like others to offer us meals or lodgings at times of need.

It is also a fulfillment of the mitzva to ‘go in the ways of G-d’, which teaches us that we should strive to emulate G-d’s character traits and actions. Although there is no specific incident in the Torah in which G- d, so-so-speak, hosted people for a meal, it seems that Hashem is constantly hosting the entire world, offering us a place to sleep and food to eat! Thus, being hospitable to others is a way of emulating G-d.

This mitzva is considered so great that it is placed on an equal level of going early to learn Torah. Learning Torah is, in many ways, the most important mitzva in the Torah because it enables us to keep all the mitzvot and to develop a relationship with G-d. Nonetheless, having guests is considered as great a mitzva as getting up early to learn Torah!

Moreover, the Rabbis teach that having guest is even greater than being exposed to the Divine Presence! We learn this from the behavior of Avraham Avinu when Hashem visited him after his circumcision .1 In the midst of reveling in Hashem’s exalted presence, Avraham sees three strangers approaching. He suddenly excuses himself from Hashem’s presence to speak to the strangers and offer them a meal! There is no allusion in this incident that Avraham did anything wrong, and therefore this teaches us that it must be greater to have guests than communicate directly with G-d! The reason for this is that, being like G-d is an even greater way of connecting to Him than speaking to Him!

In the coming weeks we will discuss the details of this great mitzva.


1Parsha Vayeira


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

The Rainbow Coalition
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

Of Showers, Towers, and False Powers
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

No Fear, No Fair
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Constant Taking is Self Destructing
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

Perceptions - Noach
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

Lesson of the Ravens
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

> Send The Guinea Pig!
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

The Gift of Meat
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

Beyond Youth
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Ideal Way of Life
Shlomo Katz - 5768

The Sign of the Olive
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

The Name of HASHEM
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

ArtScroll

It's All About Redemption Part II
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5766

Understanding the Faith of Noach
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

Unity With Caution
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

When the Illegitimate Becomes Legitimate
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information