At the beginning of our Torah portion this week, we find Abraham, fresh off his self inflicted circumcision, waiting at "
Petach HaOhel," at the opening of his tent. According to a midrash, Abraham's tent was unique, because it was actually open on all sides. That way, anyone walking by would know that Abraham's tent was open for them. Abraham had a habit of standing by one of the openings, so that he would welcome anyone and everyone who passed by, including the three random men whom he came across. He didn't know that they were angels at the time, but rather that they were people in need of support and assistance. Which is why despite being in pain, he ran to greet them, in the heat of the day, ensuring that they felt welcomed.
Hachnasat Orchim, welcoming guests, was very important to Abraham, and is to all of us. At Tifereth Israel, we strive to be a welcoming and inclusive community, but I think we have a lot to learn from Abraham. Creating an open tent where people of different backgrounds and demographics feel at home and comfortable, isn't always easy. At times it takes careful planning and a lot of work. But like Abraham, we need to remember that each and every individual that walks through our door is created
Betzelem Elokim, in the image of God. In some way or another, everyone who walks through our doors has the potential to be a divine messenger, and bring something special, something unique, something sacred to our community.
Which is why it my hope and prayer that as we continue to build a community which embraces and celebrating everyone's differences, one that is inclusive and welcoming, we can do so in a way that is intentional, a way that appreciates the divine spark that is each and every one of us.