Re: Guest and host

Bernard William Schubach (schubach.1@osu.edu)
Sun, 17 Nov 1996 23:47:15 +0000

Concerning Rabbi Blaut's request for Halachic material concerning being a
guest or host:

The "Insights into Daf Yomi" from Ohr Somayach <dafyomi@jer1.co.il>
recently covered this topic, in issue #145. I am reprinting the
relevant part below.

> The Reluctant Guest
>
>It is forbidden to deceive someone even if there is no financial loss.
>
>Rabbi Meir cites several examples of how one can be guilty of dishonest
>behavior by giving the impression that he is doing a favor to another when
>he actually has no intention of doing so.
>
>One of these is the case of a host urging a guest to eat in his home when
>he knows that this guest has absolutely no intention of eating there, and
>the only motivation of the host is to deceptively earn the gratitude of the
>guest who thinks that the invitation is sincere. In similar fashion, he
>should not offer one of his dining guests a large amount of servings when
>he knows that there is no possibility that he will accept them.
>
>An interesting observation is made by one of the great legal authorities,
>Rabbi Yehoshua Wolk, author of the Sefer Meiras Ainayim, commentary on the
>Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat. In both cases Rabbi Meir stresses the fact
>that the host is making an extraordinary effort -- "urging" his
>recalcitrant guest to eat, or offering a "large amount" to one who will not
>accept. If one, however, makes a polite offer once or twice for his guest
>to eat, or presents him with moderate servings, he is not considered guilty
>of deception, because this is the normal etiquette of hospitality even
>though the host knows he will be refused. If he fails to make such a
>gesture he may even be guilty of embarrassing the reluctant guest. Other
>guests see him enter and leave without receiving an invitation and, unaware
>that it is the guest's custom not to eat out, may assume that he received
>no invitation because he is not worthy of one.
>
>One commentary even suggests a support for this distinction from the story
>of Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair (Chullin 7b) who never accepted invitations to
>eat by others, but did so when the Sage Rebbie offered. He explained to
>Rebbie that this reluctance to eat by other Jews was not based on any
>disdain for them, "for Jews are holy people," but because of his fear that
>some of them could not afford to entertain him, while others who could
>afford to do so failed to do so wholeheartedly. Tosefos points out that
>the latter type of Jew who invites the sage only out of shame, rather than
>sincerity, is still considered "holy." This would seem to indicate that an
>insincere invitation based on courtesy is not considered deception. (In
>his commentary on the Tur, the aforementioned Rabbi Wolk challenges this
>proof because the recipient of an insincere invitation may indeed end up
>eating, while our case deals with a guest who will definitely not.)
> Chullin 94a
>
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