Hospitality

Taking care of a guest's needs takes precedence over one's relationship with G-d.

Commentary on Parashat Emor, Leviticus 21:1 - 24:23

A great blessing one can have is the ability to give to others. Hosting guests and taking care of them is an important way to express this. Guests care much more about your attitude towards them than the expense or beauty of the surroundings.

This week’s Torah portion, Emor, discusses Jewish holidays. We are called upon to celebrate these holidays joyously and always instructed to make sure we are sharing the joy with others–our families as well as guests we can bring into our home. In fact, we are taught that taking care of a guest’s needs takes precedence over one’s relationship with G-d.

We have so many great gifts, and we should enjoy them fully. Our gift of the ability to make others happy and to give to them allows us, briefly, to be “G-d like.” Our own enjoyment of the world is incomplete if we cannot share it with others. Make the effort to have an open home and bring others into your world.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about making small sacrifices to have guests, such as sharing your room or possessions with a visitor.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:

· Have you ever felt uncomfortable in another’s home?

· What makes you comfortable in any home, no matter how humble?

· Discuss the difference between entertaining and hosting – my party vs. the guest’s needs.

· What sacrifices are you willing to make to have a guest and what are you not willing to do?

From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.

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