This week’s portion points to an important Jewish institutional value, “Welcoming the Stranger.”  Abraham, in a new home, not even settled, invites three strangers in and provides a wonderful meal for them.  Hospitality is not only a physical reality, but a spiritual one as well.  Rabbi Freehof, may his memory be for a blessing, said we should be conscious of three types of hospitality:

  1. Hospitality of heart (to strangers).  Our duty is to do as Abraham did: run to meet people halfway, be interested in new people, and bring greater friendship into the world.
  2. Hospitality of mind (to new ideas).  God is the God of knowledge.  Our religious duty is to receive and be open to this.  Remember that for those who are looking for spirituality and venturing into mysticism, the Hebrew word is Kabbalah, which means “receive”.  We must keep our minds open, in order to be grateful for every new truth that comes.
  3. Hospitality of soul (to God).  The Psalmist cries out, “Lift up your heads, you gates (of the heart), that the Sovereign of Glory may come in.”  Let our worship help open our hearts to God daily in our lives.

Abraham’s hospitality should lead us to an openness that enhances our relationships with others, expands our minds and opens our hearts to the power of God every day.