1. Genesis: VaYera

I’m up in Seattle this week ~ my first visit.  Tomorrow I get to spend the day with my old friend Joan eating and drinking and walking around.  I love vacation!

I brought my teeny tiny Torah.  Seriously.  The type is maybe 1/32″ high.  Definitely requires the glasses.  I’ve read this week’s portion a couple of times already.  It’s all about hospitality, which I can totally relate to.

My mom always kept plenty of food in our pantry.  Maybe it was partly because she grew up poor.  She could always feed an unexpected party of ten.  I attributed it more to her jewishness than to childhood poverty.  I learned from her.  And my children have learned from me.  When we had two neighborhood girls over for hot chocolate after school last week, Benjamin opened the pantry and very nearly emptied it offering them snacks.  Em’s friends already know to find and take what they like.  She’s taught them.  My kids make me proud.

In Va Yera both Lot and Abraham offer God and his angels hospitality.  Lot and his daughters were saved from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their hospitality.  I think Abraham knew who he was being hospitable to.  But I don’t think Lot knew he was feeding angels of God.

I’m not hospitable because I want to be saved.  It’s not even because my mom taugh me hospitality.  It’s really more selfish than that.  It just feels crappy to not be hospitable.

We even learn at Passover to feed the stranger.  And we learn that Elijah may come in the guise of a beggar.  I wonder if the rabbis felt they had to teach this in order to convince Jews to be welcoming, as is shown in Torah.  Maybe they thought we had to be forced the first time so that we’d learn how good it feels.  Then we’d do it on our own.

Last night I went to yoga, Em was at religious school, and Steve and Benj went out to eat.  Benj would not eat all of his dinner so he could take some to go.  He wanted to give it to a homeless guy.

Sniff. Smile.

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