Mitzva of hospitality

To my brothers Meʾir and Tsvi Mizraḥi Z"L

Name of speaker: 
Naftali Mizraḥi
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Batya Mazor Hoffman
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"Mean dachil dela dilia, eina kisufa" – On the Mitzva of hospitality

Once there was a Jewish merchant, who wandered from city to city to sell his commodity. The man went out of the town of Zakho through Amadiya, stayed there until Friday at noon and wondered what he would do, as he does not want to violate the Shabbat. He asked passers-by about the residence of the town's acham (wise man) until he arrived at the door of his house (maybe it is acham Avidani, whose name precedes him). He knocked on the door. The acham opened the door and hospitably greeted him with "Shalom Aleichem" and the man told him "your honor, I have arrived at Amadiya from afar, I do not want to desecrate the Shabbat".

The acham replied, "Welcome to my home, but you must pay 500 dollars in advance". The man wondered, but thought to himself, it would be better to pay than desecrate the Shabbat. He took out of his pocket the requested amount and gave it to theacham Hacham.

The acham invited him to wash and clean up in the warm water as he likes, towards the Shabbat. The merchant washed, relaxed, and came out fragrant and dressed like a king. The two went out together to pray in the synagogue.

When they returned home, what did the guest's eyes see? A table set with all the finest in the land, prepared and set delicacies, all sorts of meat and fish, fruits and pastries. The guest wondered, yet he was happy, and didn't think at all about the 500 dollars. They made the blessing over the wine, blessed the bread and ate until they were full. After the feast, they started to sing Zemirot (religious songs) for Shabbat. When the guest got tired the acham offered him to his already cleaned bed. The guest dozed off and slept well.

On Shabbat morning, as he got up, the acham's wife gave the guest a drink and offered him a large piece of homemade cake. The merchant and the acham went together to the synagogue. When they returned the table was set with all sorts of goods, cholent, delicacies and kinds of beverages. They blessed the wine and blessed the bread. The guest ate well and was satisfied. The acham told him "go, rest during the afternoon, and when you get up, we will go to the synagogue for Minha and Arvit".

The two prayed Minha and Arvit at the synagogue and dined there a third meal. When they returned home they did "Havdala". The guest told himself: "I enjoyed this Shabbat so much, 500 dollars are nothing to me, as long as I didn't desecrate the Shabbat".

He started to pack his clothes, zipped his bag and was about to leave the house of the acham. He went to thank the acham for the perfect hospitality. The acham took the 500 dollars out of his pocket and gave them to him. The guest was surprised and asked: "Why did you ask me for 500 dollars?" the Hacham answered: "If I hadn't taken the 500 dollars from you, you'd be ashamed to eat and wouldn't feel comfortable. I took the money from you so you'd eat as you liked and feel free to act like it was your home".

As the saying goes "Mean dachil dela dilia, eina kisufa" *meaning, anyone who eats food that isn't his own, his eye is ashamed. Therefore the acham asked for 500 dollars in advance, so the guest would feel comfortable and won't be ashamed.

That is why many people in our neighborhood, Zikaron Yosef, also known as the Kurdish neighborhood, anyone who visited them, they would be very hospitable. And why did I tell you this?

Anyone who visits you greet him with a hospitable and respectful manner. The guests repay their hosts with a blessing: "May it always be full, let your home always be wide open".

I came from there, I brought to you regards, a happy holiday greeting, be well, be strong and of good courage.

*"Mean dachil dela'o dilia bahit lestaklu bafia", meaning, anyone who eats food that that isn't his own, is ashamed to look at the feeder" Jerusalem Talmud, Orla (tractate of the Mishna), 81, 53