Love of the Land

For the week ending 9 November 2002 / 4 Kislev 5763

Elisha The Perfect Guest

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Should one avail himself of the hospitality of others or to make every effort to fend for himself?

The Talmudic Sages point out that there are models in Tanach for either approach. The Prophet Shmuel made his rounds of Eretz Israel each year, judging and guiding his people, but always took his home along with him so that he would not be dependent on anyone. (Shmuel 7:16-17)

The Prophet Elisha, on the other hand, accepted the hospitality of a "great woman" in Shunam who not only provided him with meals but also built for him a special guest-room furnished for his comfort.

Elisha was the perfect guest who insisted on repaying the kindness shown him. Upon discovering that his hostess was childless he blessed her to give birth to a child. When that child was the victim of a sudden death some years later the prophet brought him back to life. (Melachim II 4:8-37)

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