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To open the door

שלט ברוכים הבאים
התמונה מתוך אתר מיזם INEGEV

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin.

As usual, the cameraman for the morning TV program was waiting for me yesterday to do our broadcast outside my home. But then he messaged me that in rain like this, it would not be possible to broadcast outside and we would have to go inside.

Yesterday was also the day I prepared a presentation on the hospitality of Avraham Avinu. Yet who am I compared to him? My living room and kitchen were turned upside down after all the kids had searched that morning for coats and boots before going off to school and, I must admit, I did not have the desire to quickly put everything in order, invite someone inside, offer him coffee and be hospitable. But I did it anyway.

In truth, would I have preferred not to open the door of my home? Apparently so. And then I had this thought: Why is the first Jew, the father of our nation, the head of all the believers down through history, identified precisely with this mitzvah of hospitality, of welcoming guests? Why is this mitzvah so important that thousands of Torah commentators have highlighted it for thousands of years? Why have they emphasized that Avraham's tent was open on every side to welcome every passerby to come inside? That he and Sara Imeinu waited expectantly to offer food and drink to every stranger?

Perhaps because welcoming guests demands that we move, exert effort, change plans, and go beyond ourselves. It would be much simpler to just transfer a little money to potential guests through a cell phone app and not to be bothered with them. It would be much easier to sit and prepare presentations on being hospitable than to personally demonstrate a welcoming attitude. Yet Avraham Avinu is not only hospitable ,but welcomes guests with joy and enthusiasm, with the understanding that this is the message he wishes to impart to the world.

In our digital age, this week's Torah portion is particularly relevant: As the children of Avraham Avinu, we are being asked to look at faces, not at screens. May we remember this the next time someone knocks on our door.


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