He was aware that I had flown the
year before to see the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
A LESSON IN HOSPITALITY
We used to live in Rehovot. I worked in Tel Aviv, and sometimes I
returned home late at night. I would take a short cut using the back road, instead
of the main road to go home. One night I was driving my rather old and dilapidated
Sousita home, when I saw an elderly gentleman stand at the side of the road, hitchhiking.
I stopped and offered him a ride. Keep in mind my car had no internal lights,
there were no overhead lights on the road either, and it was dark. He got into
the car, and immediately asked me how the Lubavitcher Rebbe was faring.
so he could recognize that I was a Chabadnik. It's not so difficult. Most Israelis
can pick us out. But his next words indicated that he was aware that I had flown
the year before to see the Rebbe, and that I had received a blessing for my two
children. He also knew that I lived near the Chabad shul in Rehovot, and made
allusions to inner meanings of my name, Yaakov. How did he know all this?
that, he launched into a discourse regarding guests and the manner in which our
forefather Avraham fulfilled the mitzvah, keeping his tent open on all sides for
guests and receiving them no matter what.
I listened open-mouthed. At that
particular point in time, my wife and I had been having a running argument about
hospitality for years, due to my practice of bringing people home unannounced
from Shul. And they were usually total strangers too. The gentleman gave me a
long and involved lecture on the subject and encouraged me not to argue with my
wife, but to explain to her the reason to receive guests at any given time without
I started to feel really eerie, even a little scared. How could he
possibly know so much about me?
After the lesson he informed me we had reached
his stop, and wished me well. He got out of my car near Moshav Be'er Yaakov, leaving
me stunned. When I arrived home, my wife became startled, saying my face was pale
white. She became even more startled when I related to her all that had just transpired!
I passed that moshav daily on my commute, I made a habit of looking for him among
all the familiar faces I saw day after day, but I never laid eyes on him again.
We have never stopped wondering who he was. Could he have been Avraham Avienu
/ the patriarch Abraham? Eliyahu HaNovi / Elijah the Prophet? Perhaps one of your
readers can find him for us. He was old, with piercing eyes and heavy brows, and
had a very long, grey beard. We will always wonder. I'd like to tell him that
since that night in 5743, his lesson has been carefully adhered to.
by Yrachmiel Tilles from a letter received this summer from Yaakov Ben-Tor]
Yrachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed,
and editor of Ascent Quarterly and the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org
websites. He has hundreds of published stories to his credit.back
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