18 Nov Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark For Parashat Vayeira 5777
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Vayeira which contains several fascinating stories from which there is a great deal to learn. One of them is found at the very beginning of the parasha, as Abraham is sitting at the entrance to his tent when he sees three men – who turn out to be angels – approaching. Abraham arises and runs to greet them and welcomes them into his tent. From the actions of both Abraham and the angels we learn two important mitzvot or commandments. The first is hachnasat orchim, the welcoming of guests – just as Abraham welcomed the angels into his home we too are commanded to welcome guests into our home. Interestingly, even at the same time as Abraham is performing a mitzvah, one is being performed on him as well. The angels are doing bikur cholim or visiting the sick and just as they visited Abraham, we too are commanded to visit the sick in our own community to ensure that they feel supported as they battle an illness. These two mitzvot have long been an important part of our people’s tradition and may our reading of them this Shabbat be a reminder to us all to include the fulfillment of these mitzvot in our daily lives.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik