If I were to ever try and thank all those that have ever opened their homes to me, it would probably take years. It would take years to thank every random chabad shaliach, community rabbi, kollel guy, young couple, large family, single girls, etc…who has ever opened their hearts, homes, wallets and refrigerators to me, so I just try and continue the chain of giving. I love hooking people up with places to stay or eat for shabbos, whether it’s in my own home or friends of mine, it makes me feel good to get people, who may have eaten canned tuna fish in their hotel rooms after a conference to get a real shabbos experience.
Non-Jews don’t understand this thing called hachnasas orchim, my co-workers look at me in wonder when I regale to them the events of my past shabbos – “you stayed by someone you never met?” is the common response, I have never thought about it in that way.
Hachnasas orchim exists everywhere, some people are more public about, some folks more private. Despite the fast paced unfriendliness of New Yorkers, I am sure the Jews there are adept at hosting complete strangers in their homes because a friend called to ask that they do. It is one of those rare commandments that foster community, if not for the generous folks in the Bay Area I would have no community, who would I know – if every person I randomly called to invite myself to said “sorry I don’t know you”?
Think about it, odds are that in most communities outside of the large metropolitan areas you will probably get invited by someone you’ve never met – they will see you in shul and think “hmm he’s not from around here” and suddenly you find yourself at a grand or not so grand table of food, drink and company with a bunch of folks you’ve never met – I’m wondering if this happens at Church or Mosque? Are we Jews unique in our amazing hospitality to strangers – either way I love it!