Israel Forever

For the week ending 3 August 2019 / 2 Av 5779

A Lesson for Guests

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library Kaddish

Should one avail himself of the hospitality of others or, rather, should he make every effort to fend for himself?

The Talmudic Sages point out that there are models in the Tanach for either approach. The Prophet Shmuel made his rounds of Eretz Israel each year, judging and guiding his people. However, he always took his home along with him so that he would not be dependent on anyone. (Shmuel 7:16-17)

The Prophet Elisha, on the other hand, accepted the hospitality of a "great woman" in Shunam, who not only provided him with food but also built for him a special guest-room that she furnished for his comfort.

Elisha was the perfect guest who insisted on repaying the kindness shown him. Upon discovering that his hostess was childless, he blessed her to give birth to a child. When that child was the victim of a sudden death some years later, the prophet brought him back to life. (Melachim II 4:8-37)

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