Judging by the Weather

November 10, 2019 at 2:43 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. —Rashi

In the midst of conversing with G-d, Avraham sees three men approaching and runs to welcome them to his home. The Gemara (Shabbos 127a) learns from Avraham’s behavior that hospitality to guests is greater than receiving the Shechina, the Divine Presence. The question is, however, having no example or precedent from which to learn, how did Avraham know that it was permissible to welcome human company during his reception of the Divine Presence? Was he not concerned that such behavior was inappropriate and disrespectful to his esteemed Guest?

The answer is that Avraham came to this conclusion based simply on the weather. Rashi notes that it was abnormally hot on that day that G-d appeared to Avraham, as G-d sought to spare Avraham the trouble of welcoming guests.

Noticing a supernatural interference with the weather patterns, Avraham realized what was going on, but wondered: if a meeting with G-d may not be interrupted to welcome people into your home, then what need was there for Divine invention to keep the passersby away at this time? From the fact that G-d nevertheless “took the sun out of its sheath” even while He was appearing to him, Avraham deduced that if someone would pass by it was still mitzvah to welcome him or her even while in the presence of the Shechina. It must be, concluded Avraham, that welcoming guests is greater than receiving theShechina! So when three men approached during G-d’s visit, “and he saw and he ran toward them…”

—Likutei Sichos vol. 25, p. 82 fn. 45


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