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Eshel Across America
November 15, 2019 at 5:00 pm - November 16, 2019 at 10:00 pm
The Extraordinary Power of a Shared Meal
This coming Shabbat VaYera, the Torah portion where the “eshel”, the sheltering tree is planted, we are urging individuals in communities across the country to emulate Sarah and Abraham’s fearless hospitality. On a daily basis, we ask our clergy, leaders, educators, parents, and allies to welcome in someone who has a very different story than their own. To engage with the unfamiliar, and be open to difference is a holy act. By stretching our tent pins and expanding our table conversations to include new people, we celebrate Abraham and Sarah’s open-heartedness and willingness to bring in the unfamiliar.
On Shabbat VaYera we find Abraham running to welcome in dusty bedouin travelers, total strangers, into his and Sarah’s tent, and to serve them a feast. Later in the reading Abraham plants an eshel, a tamarisk tree, beside their tent to mark their home as welcoming. The tree’s meaning is explained in various ways, all of which affirm Abraham and Sarah’s identities as the open-hearted, curious, and convivial matriarch and patriarch that they are.
On Parshat Vayera, we ask you to be like Sarah and Abraham.
If someone in shul seems out of place, if there’s a new person at work who has just come to town, if you know someone who would just like company, then take this opportunity to open your tent door.
We at Eshel urge our communities to become aware of the LGBTQ people in our midst. If all of our LGBTQ people and their families were overwhelmed this week with Shabbat invitations wouldn’t the Shechina (God’s earthly presence) rejoice? “Greater is welcoming in guests than receiving the face of the Shechina!”
So for Shabbat VaYera stretch the tent pins and open up the entryways. Sign up here to be a host, and as long as our supplies last, Eshel will send you a gift for extending yourself. We will also send along some divrei torah as conversation starters. Stay tuned!