During the month of November, in which we celebrate Thanksgiving, we will be reading the parsha, “Vayera.” There is an interesting connection between these two things.
In the opening section of this part of the Torah, Abraham and Sarah are visited by three beings, perhaps men, thought to be angels, or prophets from God. These beings reveal that Sarah, who is getting on in years, will soon bear a child! After first offering a bit of bread to these modest and unassuming strangers, Abraham and Sarah go to great lengths to serve them a sumptuous meal. It is said that this act of generosity provided the slogan about the righteous, from Pirkei Avot, The Ethics of the Fathers, that they “say little and do much.” According to the Talmud, from which this saying is derived, “the righteous promise little and perform much; the wicked promise much but do not perform even a little.”
Jewish tradition has always emphasized “hachnasat orchim,” welcoming guests, as well as generosity to strangers. Following the example of Abraham and Sarah, we all can do this mitzvah. Whether helping to serve a Thanksgiving (or other) meal in a local food shelter or donating to community organizations which provide for the food insecure, we have many opportunities to reach out and be hospitable. This month, in particular, we are aware of our rich fall bounty and the need to share it with others. Let’s remember our ancestors and continue the chain of tradition, “l’dor vador,” from generation to generation. We can involve our children and can teach them to make this a part of their lives.
L’hitra’ot, until next time!