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    Welcoming the stranger – Vayyera

    A characteristic of the Patriarch Abraham was hachnasat or’chim, hospitality to wayfarers. The rabbis say that observing this ethical commandment is so highly prized that even God is impressed (Talmud Shabbat 127a).

    The Torah tells us that Abraham sat at the entrance of his tent to welcome wayfarers. When the Torah says “the entrance”, our tradition says that there were actually four entrances so that anyone who came by could find a way in without having to walk round and round until he found the door.

    And not even this was all that was organised for visitors’ convenience. Abraham did not sit passively at the entrance of his tent to await his visitors but he took the initiative. Seeing travellers in the distance he got up and ran to meet them.

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