Inviting someone to dinner or offering a drink for an unexpected friend; these are what we typically think of as being hospitable and it is. But what I want to talk about is the Hebraic view of hospitality.
While we are familiar with this concept in our Western thinking, it takes on a slightly different meaning or nuance when we think Hebraically. This understanding has much more importance than we give it because it is akin to the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” and because this will be the determining factor as to whether we have salvation or not.
Matt 25:31-46 (Complete Jewish Bible)
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, accompanied by all the angels, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people from another as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. The ‘sheep’ he will place at his right hand and the ‘goats’ at his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you made me your guest. I needed clothes and you provided them, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me,’ then the people who have done what God wants will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you our guest, or needing clothes and provide them? When did we see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’
The King will say to them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did them for me!’
Then he will also speak to those on his left, saying, ‘Get away from me, you who are cursed! Go off into the fire prepared for the Adversary and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me no food, thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, a stranger and you did not welcome me, needing clothes and you did not give them to me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they too will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger, needing clothes, sick or in prison, and not take care of you?’ And he will answer them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you refused to do it for the least important of these people, you refused to do it for me!’ they will go off to eternal punishment, but those who have done what God wants will go to eternal life.”
As you can see, it’s a big deal!
The Hebraic thinking of hospitality goes like this:
Because you come my way, I was meant to help you and to serve you.
When Yahweh (God) allows someone to be in your area of influence, you have a responsibility now. This responsibility in hospitality is called Hach’nasas Or’chim.
A good example is the three men who came to see Abraham in Gen 18. Abraham washed their feet, gave them food and drink. Another example is the parable of good Samaritan in Luke 10:25 -. Here we see “loving your neighbor” tied directly to inheriting eternal life. There are countless examples in scripture.
So while inviting someone to dinner does show hospitality, this idea of Hach’nasas Or’chim can vary at times because the needy person may not be someone you know or someone you invited. It could be any stranger that Yahweh brings your way. It could be a homeless person in need of a meal or money. It could be someone who needs directions. Think about how you could apply this to your daily life.
If you want to understand the scriptures with Hebraic thought, then go to Jewisheyes.org and sign up for free access to his video teachings. Rabbi Daniel Thomson is a Messianic Jew who gives insightful Torah nuggets on the parshiot.
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