Vayera Batmitzvah

D'var Torah

by Sara
Batmitzvah Dvar Torah
Batmitzvah Dvar Torah
Batmitzvah Dvar Torah
Batmitzvah Dvar Torah

Shabbat Shalom – Rabbonim, Rebbezins,  family and friends .I also want to give a warm welcome to the ex army people from Israel who are visiting our community .

 

In my parsha there are 2 main parts

  • the akeidah, which is testing Avraham’s faith in Hashem/ G-d

  • and also there is chachnaast orchim (welcoming Abraham) when the 3 angels come to Avraham on the third day after his brit milah  and he makes a big feast.

 

Chansat orchim (welcoming guests) is a priniciple that we learn from Avraham in today’s parsha. We also see it at pesach time, during the seder we open our doors to strangers. Going back to Avraham, he opened his tent to people, and he loved having guests. On the third day after his brit milah, he was waiting outside for someone to walk by, even though he was in pain, for someone who was hungry or needed somewhere to stay. Hashem on purpose made the sun really warm, so Avraham would go inside – but he didn’t go. Then Hashem sent 3 angels – and Avraham saw them appear out of the distance and they looked like normal men.

 

Avraham treated them like Kings, and quickly catered for all of their needs. When the torah describes the story it uses lots of verbs to describe how Avraham did everything in a hurry for his guests, as he did not want them to be waiting.  He also invited them to sit down, and wash their feet, and offered them bread and water, in order for them to feel comfortable should they have come   from a humble background. He then provided them with a lavish feast.

 

Thinking about Avraham and his faith in Hashem (G-d) by inviting strangers into his home….If we put this in our lives, if a stranger walked in because you left your doors open, then you would probably expect to be robbed – but Avraham expected that Hashem would protect him and no one would steal from him.

 

There is also another act of kindness in this parsha – which is carried out by Lot – Avraham’s nephew. He invited a man to come and eat.

 

The sense of goodness and fairness should be inbuilt within us, like a sense of morality.   According to the midrash in Sodom there were 4 terrible things which would happen if you were a stranger or someone that helped a stranger.

 

  1. Strangers walking through the city would be robbed immediately, and no one would show any care about.  It would be considered normal, which is not nice.

  2. The judges of Sodom would not show any sympathy for this kind of incident.

  3. Anyone handing food to a stranger would be put to death.

  4. Anyone who invites a stranger to a wedding would be punished by having all their clothes stolen.

 

They also had no sense of morality, as we know it. They were so bad that they even banned goodness and kindness to other people. Lot, Avraham’s nephew didn’t keep to the rules when the angels came over, and all his family and his guests would have been endangered.  Lot tried to make Sodom a better place by welcoming guests, and warned the people of Sodom that Hashem would destroy the city if they didn’t change their ways.

 

Avraham tried bargaining with Hashem, to see if he would save the city, Hashem said if there are 40 people who would change how they acted then he would save the city, Avraham said no – 30 people.  They only found Lot and his family. Therefore the city of Sodom was destroyed and Lots family were even warned not to look back when they ran and Sodom was being destroyed. The angles didn’t want Lot to be effected again by the lack of morality that Sodom represented.

 

The Chofetz Chaim was a famous Rabbi, who lived from 1838-1933. Why he was famous man was because of his good kindness, and his sense of morality. There is a famous story that some people know about him and a student, and the student was taking a nap and he overslept, and the Chofetz Chaim stayed up all night so as not to embarrass the student and eat with the student. The moral of the story is not to embarrass your guests.

There are other ways to make your guests welcome like;

 

  • Do it with joy, treat your guests like you really enjoy having them like Abraham sat outside his tent waiting for guests and enjoying having them.

  • A famous Chassidic rabbi once invited some people to his house for Rosh Hashana, one of them was very excited and wondered what torah discussion would the Rabbi share with them. And instead the Rabbi asked about the health, welfare and families of his guests to make them feel comfortable. The moral of the story is to talk about subjects which will make each guest comfortable and show full respect for each person’s life.

  • Treat every guest equally. Avraham invited everyone that walked past into his house and offered them to stay. In Sodom if you were poor they just ignored you, wealth was more important than kindness. The Midrash says one of lots daughters gave food regularly to a poor man and she got caught.  They killed her for doing this. She had an urge to help the poor people, but where she lived they didn’t tolerate this action.

  • Looking for guests – it’s a Jewish law to go out and look for guests and invite them in. The Chofetz Chaim explains you have to actively do something to invite someone to your house. Particularly if you don’t know them very well. And it might not be enough to invite friends and family.

  • Escorting people out – its kind to escort people out because you walk outside your house to make sure they will be ok on their journeys especially people who don’t know their way….this is what Abraham did when the angels came to visit in this week’s sedra

  • Even if the host is someone who is very important you still have to serve people. Like the story of Rabbi Gamliel – who was a very famous rabbi, who was the head of the Sanhedrin-which was like the beth din but with 70 judges.

 

And they invited some other Rabbonim to a meal, and he poured wine, and Rabbi Yeshua and Rabbi Eliezer had a discussion should they accept a drink from such a high rabbi. Rabbi Eliezer said he should not accept, and Rabbi Yehoshua said he should, and his point to backup this statement was from this weeks sedra: which was even a great person like Avraham served a stranger as low as a beggar.

 

So here are my Top 5 tips to do chanasat orchim  (welcoming guests) properly

 

  1. Educate your children from a young age to do chanasat orchim. When Yishmael was born he was asked to prepare the food for the guests, also he was left with the guests so they weren’t left alone.

  2. Do you want to go heaven - I assume so, the Zohar quotes if you welcome guests in this world Hashem will welcome you in the next world.

  3. By inviting guests you connect to a person, which means you connect with Hashem

  4. Its good to sit down at a table and eat with your guests.

  5. Be open and trust others

Shabbat shalom

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