Do You Feel an Urge to Be Kind?

November 10, 2019 at 12:35 AM , , ,
“…..And G-od appeared to him in the plains of Mamre, and he was sitting at the entrance of the tent when the day was hot….. (Bereishit 18:1)

״….וירא אליו ה׳ באלוני ממרא והוא יושב פתח האהל כחם היום….״ – בראשית יח, א 

G-d took the sun out of its sheath so as not to trouble him with wayfarers, but since He saw that he was troubled that no wayfarers were coming, He brought the angels to him in the likeness of men. —Rashi

Parashat Vayeira

According to Rashi’s explanation, G-d caused that day to be unnaturally hot in order to spare Avraham the burden of entertaining visitors, but the absence of guests was ultimately a source of anguish for Avraham. Does that mean that G-d’s plan went awry? Was G-d’s interference with the weather patterns a waste? It must be that although the plan was successful, as Divine plans would be, something then happened which changed the absence of guests from being a convenience for Avraham to a cause for his distress.

What caused that change for Avraham? The answer lies simply in the words of the verse: And G-d appeared to him.

Avraham was instinctively generous; to be kind and hospitable to people in need was second nature to him, if not completely inborn. Yet, even Avraham’s generous spirit was only stimulated when he knew or saw someone in need. Therefore, in the absence of a situation requiring his attention, such as when the unbearable heat kept all travelers from passing through his area, Avraham was able to rest and comfortably recuperate from the circumcision he had endured a few days earlier.

But things changed for Avraham when G-d appeared to him. G-d’s immeasurable kindness that was revealed to Avraham on that day evoked within Avraham an even greater spirit of generosity that before. Mirroring G-d’s infinite benevolence, Avraham became filled with such a drive and motivation to be kind and giving, that the lack of passerby suddenly became a terrible source of anxiety, as he wished he could only find someone with whom he could share.

Sensing his anguish, G-d granted Avraham’s new desire. “And he lifted his eyes and saw, and behold, three men were standing beside him…”

—Likutei Sichos vol. 5, pp. 329-330, fn. 99


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