Ethics

For the week ending 25 March 2006 / 25 Adar I 5766

Going My Way?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: I have an opportunity to give a fellow worker a lift in my car. The only problem is that I am in the habit of making some highly personal telephone calls during the time I drive, something that I will have to forgo if I have a passenger and thus lose some precious time. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: First of all, I hope you are able to make calls while driving with both hands free to grab the wheel in accordance with the traffic laws.

As regards the moral aspect, you would be well advised to view giving a lift as an act of hachnasat orchim hospitality. The great halachic authority Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, zatzal, is quoted as saying that in our society, where it is rare for a poor wanderer to be in need of a meal, the only regular opportunity for performing hachnasat orchim is offering a lift. He reportedly ruled that one who buys a car with the intention of providing lifts should make the blessing of hatov umeitiv, which one says when the enjoyment of his acquisition of a valuable item is to be shared by others.

You are well aware that offering hospitality in your home requires time, energy and money. Is it not worth a few minutes of your time without calls to do the same in your automobile?

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