The Gemara says that from the story of Avraham Avinu in this week’s parsha we learn that גדולה הכנסת אורחים יותר מקבלת פני השכינה – it’s greater to entertain wayfarers more than to receive the presence of the Shechinah. How does that apply in real life?
It applies to us exactly as it applied to Avraham Avinu. Which means that suppose it’s time to go to the synagogue for the minchah minyan but it just so happens that a meshulach came in to your home to ask for a donation. Now, this meshulach, he hasn’t been home all day so you offer him something to eat; but that means you’ll have to remain home to serve him. It means you’ll miss minchah. Now it doesn’t mean you’ll miss minchah entirely. You’ll miss the minyan. So you should follow that dictum, that serving a wayfarer food is more important than a minyan. Of course, if you could serve him and then take him together with you to the synagogue, that’s the best thing.
TAPE # 53 (October 1974)