Ethics

For the week ending 4 November 2006 / 13 Heshvan 5767

Another Dimension of Hospitality

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: When I conclude a visit to the home of a friend, my host escorts me outside for a short distance. My protests that here is no need to bother are brushed aside with a statement about concern for my safety. I don’t quite understand such concern in a municipal setting and wonder whether I should act in the same fashion towards my own guests. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: Your question is raised by the commentaries on the Talmud’s statement (Mesechta Sotah 45b) that one who escorts another even four cubits provides him with protection for the rest of the way. Why this applies even when the journey begins in a safe place like a home in the city is explained by Maharsha in this fashion:

The security provided by this brief escorting is supernatural. Since the escorter’s desire is to provide his guest with protection, his good intention is carried to a successful conclusion in the spirit of“G-d fulfills the wishes of those who fear Him.” (Tehillim 145:19)Another perspective is that the angels created by the escorter’s token performance of the mitzvah of escorting watch over his guest and bring him safely home.

In conclusion, you have learned a valuable lesson from your friend. Now apply it!

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