Angels Have Feelings Too – Parashat Vayeira

November 10, 2019 at 1:20 AM , , ,
“….And he lifted his eyes and he saw, and behold there were three men standing beside him and he saw and he ran towards them…… (Bereishit 18:2)

״….וישא עיניו וירא והנה שלושה אנשים נצבים עליו וירא וירץ לקראתם….״ – בראשית יח, ב 

This is the tenet that our patriarch Avraham established and the path of kindness that he followed. He would feed wayfarers, provide them with drink, and accompany them. Showing hospitality for guests surpasses receiving the Shechina, the Divine Presence, as is written: “And he saw and behold there were three men.” —Rambam, Hilchos Avel 14:2

Avraham hosted three angels in the midst of being visited by G-d, from which we learn that hospitality surpasses receiving the Divine Presence. Yet, considering that Avraham’s guests were angels, who had no need for the food and drink he offered, did Avraham in fact fulfill the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim with this act of hospitality? In hindsight, the cause for which Avraham disturbed his reception of the Shechina does not seem justified as hachnasat orchim!

From here we see that hachnasat orchim is primarily defined not by the accommodations the host provides, but by the heartfelt concern he shows for his guests’ wellbeing. Giving with a smile enhances any form of kindness or charity, yet the ideal charity, for example, is when the donor and recipient never even meet each other face to face. Not so the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim, where the fulfillment of this mitzvah is first and foremost through showing your guest your personal and sincere concern for his good.

This aspect of hachnasat orchim was fulfilled to the fullest by Avraham’s interest in the wellbeing of his visitors, whether or not the angels needed or ate the food he provided them. In fact, knowing (better than anyone) how much Avraham was cherished by G-d, the angels too could appreciate the sincere interest that this great man took in them, putting his meeting with G-d on hold to take notice of them, provide them with food and escort them on their way.


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—Likutei Sichos vol. 25, pp. 76-78







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