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Pirkei Avot 1:5 – Grace After Meal


Pirkei Avot 1:5

יוֹסֵי בֶן יוֹחָנָן אִישׁ יְרוּשָׁלַיִם אוֹמֵר, יְהִי בֵיתְךָ פָתוּחַ לִרְוָחָה, וְיִהְיוּ עֲנִיִּים בְּנֵי בֵיתֶךָ

Yose ben Yochanan (a man) of Jerusalem used to say: Let thy house be wide open, and let the poor be members of thy household.

This immediately brings up the association of Abraham. Bartenura writes[1]:

“May your house be wide open”: like the house of Avraham, our father, may peace be upon him, which was open to the four directions of the world, so that guests did not have to walk around to find the entrance.

We all probably know the story from Parsha Vayeira. It is 3 days after Abraham’s circumcision – it is said to be the most painful day – it is the hottest time of the day. G-d had ensured that day that no guests would come so that Abraham would have rest. The only “guest” who came was G-d Himself. Which teaches us the great importance of visiting the sick. However, Abraham was disappointed that he had no guests to attend to that day. And so G-d sent the 3 men – angels. In the middle of the conversation which Abraham had with G-d, he said to G-d: “Please wait, first take care of my guests”. From this we learn how gracious his kindness was, but also how important it is to welcome our guests to our home, to serve them the best we have, and it is good to accompany guests a piece when they leave your home again. Abraham’s hospitality went even further than just welcoming guests into his home. The Chazal[2] learn from Genesis 21:33 that Abraham built a (5-star) hotel and all travelers were free to stay in it. There was only 1 condition: the guests had to thank G-d after their stay.

וַיִּטַּ֥ע אֶ֖שֶׁל בִּבְאֵ֣ר שָׁ֑בַע וַיִּ֨קְרָא־שָׁ֔ם בְּשֵׁ֥ם ה’ אֵ֥ל עוֹלָֽם׃

[Abraham] planted a tamarisk at Beer-sheba, and invoked there the name Hashem, the Everlasting G-d.

Because of this, we also know how important it is for Noahides (and Jews) to say Grace After Meal. See also the blog:” Parshat Ekev – Grace before and After a Meal “.

My emphasis in this little blog was mainly on the first part of this verse. The second part of the verse is:

וְיִהְיוּ עֲנִיִּים בְּנֵי בֵיתֶךָ, וְאַל תַּרְבֶּה שִׂיחָה עִם הָאִשָּׁה. בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ אָמְרוּ, קַל וָחֹמֶר בְּאֵשֶׁת חֲבֵרוֹ. מִכָּאן אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים, כָּל זְמַן שֶׁאָדָם מַרְבֶּה שִׂיחָה עִם הָאִשָּׁה, גּוֹרֵם רָעָה לְעַצְמוֹ, וּבוֹטֵל מִדִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה, וְסוֹפוֹ יוֹרֵשׁ גֵּיהִנֹּם

Engage not in too much conversation with women. They said this with regard to one’s own wife, how much more [does the rule apply] with regard to another man’s wife. From here the Sages said: as long as a man engages in too much conversation with women, he causes evil to himself, he neglects the study of the Torah, and in the end he will inherit gehinnom.

For completeness, let me give the text that Artscroll gives for the second part of the verse.

And do not converse excessively. The Mishnah warns us against idle chatter and too much of it. A man who truly respects his wife will value her views and counsel and not overburden their conversation with frivolous chatter. Moreover, this sort of bantering with other women can loosen the bounds of morality and lead to sin.[3]

By Angelique Sijbolts


[1] Bartenura on Pirkei Avot 1:5:1
[2] Ein Yaakov (Glick Edition), Sotah 1:29
[3] Artscroll Pirkei Avot p. 10

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