Building a World of Compassion
An elderly man is sitting in the hot sun by the door to his home. He gazes into the desert wilderness to see if anyone is passing by. Although suffering from a recent operation, he is compelled to follow his usual routine. For his home is a place of refuge and peace for travelers, wayfarers, and lost souls. Together with his wife, they create an oasis of compassion in a harsh world.
This is Abraham and Sarah, progenitors of the Jewish people. Through their lives and actions, we learn that receiving guests is a sacred act. Opening our homes expresses a great love for humanity. This love for humanity is sacred, akin to receiving the Divine Presence.
I have a friend who with his wife regularly hosts thirty to forty people for Shabbos meals. He started just hosting some friends once a month. They asked if they could bring some friends. Soon, he had to go out and buy dozens of folding chairs and folding tables. He moves the furniture out of his living room in order to accommodate all his guests. He buys food, seltzer, plates and cups by the case. Each meal people come who he has never met before. Very often they are new to the area with no place to go for Shabbos meals. But in his home, they feel like the most special guests.
Sometimes we think that to build a more compassionate world, we need an overhaul of government, politicians and cultural values. We see corruption, greed, and elitism. We see terrible inhumanity and suffering in our own communities. We see people who are lost, financially, spiritually, and emotionally.
Abraham and Sarah saw such a world that lacked compassion and Godliness. The most wealthy cities of their time, prohibited visitors, abused the poor and homeless. So they set about emulating the compassion that G-d showed them, by opening their home, their lives, and helping who ever they could. They built a world of compassion in their own home. They built a world of kindness and hope in a tent in the desert.
Imagine what we can do with our lives and modern homes? Imagine if we all open our doors, even just a bit more. Imagine if we open our hearts up just a bit more. Imagine if we open our wallets just a little bit more. Wow! Can you imagine the world of compassion that we can build? Each home can become a world of compassion, a sacred space, dedicated to a sacred mission.