Welcoming Guests

Shavua Tov. One of the important lessons taught in פרשת וירא is the importance of הכנסת אורחים, welcoming guests. It is a remarkable story that the narrative of the Parsha tells us that Hashem is visiting Avraham the third day after his Brit, and is setting the example of ביקור חולים, visiting the sick.

In the middle of his conversation with G-d, Avraham notices three visitors. He asks Hashem if He wouldn’t mind postponing their conversation until he takes care of his guests. We do not see any protest on Hashem’s part. From here we learn, גדול הכנסת אורחים מקבלת פני השכינה, that welcoming guests is even greater than receiving Hashem’s countenance.

Rabbi Soloveitchik explains that this type of Chesed is unique. Giving Tzedaka shows sympathy. הכנסת אורחים shows equality. It is not an easy Mitzva to observe, but from our Parsha we learn that it is a very high level of Chesed.