To Give Is to Receive: Lessons on Jewish Hospitality From the Book of Genesis

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Two of my favorite characters in the Book of Genesis are Avraham and his daughter-in-law Rivka. Avraham is one of my heroes, and I want to marry someone like Rivka.

Both Avraham and Rivka are famous for their hachnasat orchim, which means welcoming guests. Avraham is the first Jew, he thinks for himself, questions authority, and even argues with God. He is willing to be himself and do what he believes even if the whole world thinks he is crazy, which is why he is known as an Ivri, which means “he who stands on the other side.” According to the Kabbalah, Avraham represents the character trait of chesed, which translates as “loving kindness.” According to the midrash, Avraham had an entrance on every side of his tent so he could welcome guests from the four directions.

There is a story that after the third day of…

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