Guests-The Special Element of the Shabbat Table

Hachnassat Orchim means welcoming guests. Abraham, the first patriarch, set the tone for the Jewish attitude towards hospitality when he ran to greet three strangers on the third and most painful day after his brit milah (circumcision). It is thus quite common to find Shabbat tables graced with the presence of friends, family and, indeed, strangers.

One of the best methods for learning more about the Shabbat experience is to be a guest at a traditional Shabbat table. If one is looking for such an experience, a local synagogue is often able to help make these arrangements. What is important to remember is not to feel as if this is an imposition, but to recognize that, indeed, most traditional families feel that it is an honor and privilege to have guests. Actually, the guests are doing the hosts a favor in helping them fulfill the mitzvah of Hachnassat Orchim.

Twebrew School: Shabbat is brought to you on behalf of Shabbat Across America and Shabbat Across Canada, the only cross-continental celebration of Shabbat. The fourteenth annual SAA/C will take place on March 5, 2010. To learn more, click here.

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