Friday, August 18, 2006

Hachnasas Orchim

R' Gil Student has a post in which he noted a Rema on Hilchos Shabbos which states that Hachnasas Orchim, and the kulos that are invoked by this halachic situation, only applies to a guest who is staying in his house (or in someone else's house), but not to a friend whom he merely invites over for a meal. Over the following 6 hours, there were a number of comments expressing surprise at this ruling, but as I noted in a comment there, the ruling makes perfect sense.

The view of the Rema simply follows the meaning of the word Orchim, milashon Orach, road or path.

The mitzvah of Hach"O seems to be to invite those who are traveling on the road and are tired/dirty/hungry into your home for hospitality of some sort. Avraham's guests came from the road, so his hospitality was Hachnasas Orchim, even though they didn't sleep by him. The form of the hospitality doesn't matter; the ikkar seems to be the fact that they're away from their hometown and thus are in need of assistance. Chesed is still chesed, but the kula of the Rema is specifically for wayfarers.

It's interesting that people can be familiar with a halachic concept, yet not understand the etymology behind the name of this concept, which is often essential to understanding the parameters of this concept.

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At 8/22/2006 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8/22/2006 1:12 PM, Blogger Josh said...

I have deleted an anonymous post because it contained in it a negative comment about a group within Judaism. It seems clear to me that this would fall under the rubric of lashon hara, but even if not, this is an area in which I recently resolved to be more machmir in, and I extend this personal decision to my online presence, as well.

If one wishes to discuss the sociology of different groups within Judaism, there are several places on the web at which one can do so, which are led by true y'rei'ei shamayim who allow honest discussion of these issues while being careful not to step over the red lines of lashon hara and other issurim that are t'luyim on words.

This is not the purpose of my blog, so I have no pronlem in deciding l'chumra in these issues, even if it means stifling what may be an honest and productive debate.



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