Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Rebbe Nachman on Hospitality

From Sefer Alef-Beis (Sefer ha-Middos), “Hachnossas Orchim”

Translation by Moshe Mykoff, The Alef-Bet Book (Breslov Research Institute), pp. 11-12

Source references and remazim from Hebrew edition published by Kollel Zvi la-Tzaddik (now BRI), based on the research of Rabbi Noson of Breslov, Rabbi Nachman Goldstein of Tcherin, and Rabbi Tzadok of Lublin, with explanatory comments (see there). For further study, see Tiferes ha-Middos (2 vol.) by Rabbi Nachman Yosef Vitriol. 

Part A:
1. An inhospitable person strengthens the hand of evil-doers so that they do not return to God. (See Isaiah 3-12.)
2. [The people of] a city where hospitality is not practiced will turn to immodest behavior, and this will bring murder into their midst. (See Proverbs 2:13, 19; Psalms 25:4; Jeremiah 23:14.)
3. Hospitality brings a woman to be blessed with children. (II Kings 4:13, 16, re. the Prophet Elisha and the Shunamite woman; also the example of Avraham Avinu and the angelic guests: see Berakhos 53b.)
4. Receiving guests is like receiving the Shabbos. (See Shabbos 119a, with Rashi; Tikkuney Zohar, Tikkun 6, end, and Tikkun 47.)
5. When a person welcomes a Torah scholar into his home, it is like he brought the daily sacrificial offerings. (See Berakhos 10b.)
6. Hospitality is even greater than arriving early at the House of Torah Study and receiving the Shekhinah (Divine Presence). (See Shabbos 127a.)
7. Jews who have no rabbis in their midst are like Kuttim (Samaritans). [This seems to be included in this chapter as if to say that Jews who don’t welcome Torah scholars into their homes will become like the Samaritans, who reverted to heresy. DS] (See Pesachim 51a.)

Part B
1. Hospitality earns a person the fearful-respect of others. (See Bereishis Rabbah, Vayera, 48:14.)
2. Hospitality is a segulah (a charm or wondrous cure) for returning a woman’s menses [so that she can again bear children]. (Bereishis Rabbah, Vayera, 48:17; ibid. 56:5.)
3. The prominence of the leaders of the generation is strengthened by God’s holiness. This [prestige] brings everyone to value the mitzvah of hospitality and causes those who study the Torah to have the law accepted as they understand it. (See Shemos Rabbah 25:8.)

The “Burned Book” (Sefer ha-Nisraf)
From Chayei Moharan, sec. 574 
Translated by Avraham Greenbaum, Tzaddik (Breslov Research Institute), p. 440

There is a tradition that the Sefer ha-Nisraf included, among other things, a discussion of the greatness and holiness of the mitzvah of hospitality. It also dealt with the greatness of the mitzvah of preparing the bed for the guest. 

(As for the nature of the lost book and the circumstances surrounding its burning, see Chayei Moharan 169, 170, 172-177.)

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