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A Mitzvah Invitation

by Ozer Bergman

For this year’s Rosh HaShanah gathering in Uman, Breslov Research will again be hosting a few hundred people for the yom tov and Shabbos/Shabbat meals.

The value and power of providing even a single meal for a traveler, especially a poor one, is quite great. Take a look at the following pieces of Gemara and see for yourself how you can dispel the anger caused by idolatry, touch the depth of your Jewishness and increase the security of your family—and more!

Sanhedrin 103b [end]

Raba said to Rabbah bar Mari: Why did they not count Yehoyakhim [among those who have no portion in the world to come]?… He answered: I haven’t heard an explanation about kings, but I heard one about commoners. Why did they not include [the idolater] Micah [among those who have no portion in the world to come]? Because his bread was available to travelers, as it is said, “Every traveler turns to the Levites.”…

It has been taught: Rabbi Natan said, “From Gareb to Shilo is a distance of three miles, and the smoke of the [Mishkan’s] Altar intermingled with that of Micah’s idol. The angels wished to shove Micah away, but the Blessed Holy One said to them, ‘Let him alone, because his bread is available for wayfarers.’”…

Rabbi Yochanan said in the name of Rabbi Yose ben Kisma: A mouthful [of food given to wayfarers] is significant, since it alienated two families from Israel, as it is written (Deuteronomy 23:4–5), [“No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter into the congregation of the Lord]… Because they did not meet you with bread and water on your journey when you left Egypt.”

Rabbi Yochanan himself said: [A mouthful of food given to wayfarers] distances the near, and draws near the distant; it causes [God’s] eyes to be averted from the wicked; it made the Shekhinah rest even on a prophet of Baal; and an unintentional mistake (shogeg) relating to [feeding wayfarers] is regarded as deliberate (meizid).

“It distances the near,” [is learned] from Ammon and Moab.

“And brings near those who are distant,” [is learned] from Yitro. For Rabbi Yochanan said: As a reward for [Yitro’s saying (Exodus 2:20),] “Call him, that he may eat bread,” his descendants were privileged to sit in the Lishkat HaGazit (Chamber of Hewn Stones of the Sanhedrin)…

“It causes [God’s] eyes to be averted from the wicked” [is learned] from Micah.
“And made the Shekhinah to rest upon the prophets of Baal” [is learned] from the companion of Iddo the prophet. For it is written (1 Kings 13:20), “As they sat at the table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back.”

“And an unintentional mistake (shogeg) relating to [feeding wayfarers] is regarded as deliberate (meizid).” Rav Yehudah said in Rav’s name: Had Yonatan given David two loaves of bread for his journey, Nob would not have been massacred, Doeg would not have been destroyed, and Shaul and his three sons would not have been slain (see 1 Samuel 21).

Bava Batra 10b

Rabbi Abbahu also said: Shlomo, David’s son, was asked, How far does the power of charity extend? He replied, “Go see what my father David said (Psalms 112:9), ‘He gives freely to the needy, his charity lasts forever.’” Rabbi Abba said from here (Isaiah 33:16), “He will dwell in lofty security, with inaccessible cliffs his stronghold; his bread is given, his water assured.” Why will he dwell securely, with inaccessible cliffs his stronghold? Because he gives his bread [to the poor] and assures [them] water.

If you would like a cheilek (part) in the mitzvah of hakhnasas orchim (hosting travelers), by hosting a guest or sponsoring a meal (or part thereof), please click here to donate on line (make sure to indicate what you are contributing for) or Ozer Bergman, in Uman, from Tuesday afternoon (7 September).

© Copyright 2010 Breslov Research Institute

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Andrew Percy October 5, 2010 - 5:22 pm

Shouldn’t it make a Meizid become Shogig? An intentional sin is considered more serious than an unintentional one isn’t it?

Ozer November 4, 2010 - 5:10 am

You’re right. A good question. The Gemara there (Sanhedrin 104a) explains that not providing food to a departing guest, even accidentally so (b’shogeg), is treated as an intentional sin (meizid) and punished more severely.@Andrew Percy


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