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"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3

Jerusalem

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GENESIS — 18:1 appeared

For Jewish people, bikkur cholim (Hebrew for “visiting the sick”) is one important way of serving one’s fellow human being. Visiting the sick is much more than simply a social act that is to be commended.   In Judaism, it has the status of a mitzvah, a religious duty, and is counted in the Talmud among the mitzvoth to which no limit has been prescribed….a person is rewarded both in this world and in the world to come. Shabbat 127a.   … Ben Sira (7:35) counsels: Do not hesitate to visit a person who is sick.” … Jewish tradition also teaches that it is important to allow others to help us when we are sick. Nedarim 39b-40a.  One should know when to give and when and how to receive, and that in receiving, one is also giving. ISAACS 42-3
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GENESIS — 18:1 appeared

In Judaism, G-d is regarded as transcendental: “The heavens belong to G-d: it is the earth that He has given to the children of men.” Psalm 115:16 He is, however, also immanent in that He has prescribed guidance on every aspect of life, intimate and public, holy and secular.   All those qualities that should be most pronounced in human conduct are made to appear conspicuously in our description of the heavenly attributes.  Here is a typical presentation of ethical Judaism in the Talmud. Sotah 14a. “Rabbi Hama, son of Rabbi Hanina, said “What means the text ‘Ye shall walk after the Lord your G-d’? Deuteronomy 13:5. Is it, then, possible for a human being to walk after the Shechinah?  Has it not been said: ‘For the Lord thy G-d is a devouring fire’? Deuteronomy 4:24. But (the meaning is) to walk after the attributes of the holy One, blessed be He.” …  G-d visited the sick, for it is written: And the Lord appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre,” so do thou also visit the sick.   Since the preceding verses deal with Abraham’s circumcision, it is deduced that the occasion was when he was recovering.   LEHRMAN 6
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GENESIS — 18:1 appeared

The talmudic rabbis understood [the] biblical verse, “You shall follow after the Lord your G-d” Deuteronomy 13:5 [See also, Deuteronomy 28:9 – “walk in His ways” – AJL], as mandating that, to the extent possible, we emulate G-d’s actions and attributes Sotah 14a.  The example offered in relation to visiting the sick is G-d’s appearance to Abraham shortly after he was circumcised Genesis 17:23-18:5.   Jewish sources cite this as the first example of bikur cholim (visiting the sick), and those who fulfill this commandment are regarded as engaging in an act of imitatio dei (imitating G-d).   Although the Torah doesn’t specify when G-d appeared to Abraham, the Talmud teaches that this visit occurred on the third day after the circumcision Baba Metzia 86b.  The rabbinic belief is that this is when the patient suffers the most.   This is probably based on Genesis 34:25, which describes Jacob’s sons, Shimon and Levi, as attacking the men of Shechem “on the third day [after their circumcision] when they were in pain.”   TELVOL 2:62-63   [See source 62-91 for extended discussion of topic]
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GENESIS — 18:1 appeared

We are obligated to visit the sick. … At times, visiting the sick may be a matter of life and death.  By visiting a person who is ill, you might be able to advise him about a doctor he should consult, or obtain medication for him.   Failure to visit someone may result in the failure to save his life which is tantamount to murder.  Ahavas Chesed, part 3, ch. 3.  PLYN 52
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GENESIS — 18:1 appeared

Whenever the prophets described Hashem’s “character traits,” such as slow to anger, abundant in kindness, righteous, truthful, straightforward, strong, etc., their intention was to teach us the qualities we should embody in our conduct in order to emulate Hashem, to the extent that our limited abilities allow.   Rambam, Hilchot Dei’os 1:6 … If a person visits or heals a sick person, he should think, “I am emulating Hashem Who heals the sick and visits them” (cf. this verse]. EHRMAN 13
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GENESIS — 18:1 appeared

Whenever the prophets described Hashem’s “character traits,” such as slow to anger, abundant in kindness, righteous, truthful, straightforward, strong, etc., their intention was to teach us the qualities we should embody in our conduct in order to emulate Hashem, to the extent that our limited abilities allow. Ramban, Hilchos Dei’os 1:6, Chofetz Chaim, Introduction, Positive Commandment 6.  … If a person visits or heals a sick person, he should think, “I am emulating Hashem Who heals the sick and visits them.” [cf. this verse]   Sarah Genesis 18:1-14 and the Shunamis II Kings 4:8-17, both childless, were rewarded with children because of this mitzvah. Tanchuma, Parshas Ki Seitzei. JOURNEY 13
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GENESIS — 18:1 door

Let the poor be members of your household.   Pirkei Avot I:5  … The word ani means not only “poor” in the strictly financial sense. A man may be wealthy and still be an ani. Does not King David cry out, “I am poor and suffering!” Psalms 69:30 – and surely David possessed great wealth. Any man who is in need is, in regard to that need, poor. A man who is depressed and needs cheering; a lonely person in need of a friend; one who has a problem and needs advice – for all these who seek the warmth of friendship and sympathetic counsel, “let your house be open wide.” The Hebrew word which we translate as “wide,” r’vahah, also means “profit.” There is no word in our vocabulary which is so evocative of a sense of earnestness and efficiency, dispatch and self-sacrifice, as the word “business.” Consider the expressions, “He means business”; “a business-like manner”; “business is business.”   Now, for the authentic Jew, observance of Torah is his true, his only business. Recall how perturbed our father Abraham was when no travellers appeared, to whose wants he could minister. [In Scripture we read about Abraham, “The Lord appeared to him … as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day” [this verse] Rashi comments: “He sat in the tent door, to see if anyone came passing by, whom he could bring into his house” – to provide hospitality; this is the Midrashic view that we find in Avoth d’Rabbi Nathan, B14, and Midrash haGadol on the verse (See Torah Shelemah on the verse §§20, 23. Rashi continues: “In the heat of the day: The Holy One took the sun out of its sheath [so to speak], that he should not be troubled with guests [in the intense heat Abraham would find no one on whom to lavish hospitality]. But because He saw that he was so distressed that no [potential] guests came, He brought the angels to him in the guise of men” (verse 2). This is based on a passage in Talmud Baba Metzia 86b, and is stated expressly in Midrash Aggada p. 39.] ] These were Abraham’s “customers” ; and why  should he not be unhappy when “business” was so bad that day! Bearing this in mind, we can now interpret our teaching: Let your home be open for profit-making. Your entire approach to the mitzvah of hospitality should be with the same verve, spirit of dedication and punctiliousness with which you do your business. Let your home be open for the spiritual “profits” implicit in this mitzvah, for the divine blessings in store for those who fulfill it.   Included in this teaching is the principle of being generally accessible to others. The urge for privacy in our day has become almost a craze. Impassable secretaries, unlisted telephone numbers, and stuffy doormen are all signs of the times. The Mishnah, however, urges us to be available to the poor, accessible to those in need. Let your home be open lir’vahah: the word also means “for relief” – for aid and deliverance.   SINAI1 57-8
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GENESIS — 18:1 Mamre

The Da’as Z’keinim explains that when G-d commanded Abraham to circumcise the men of his household, he sought advice from Mamre on how to convince those who were reluctant to comply. Mamre suggested he first circumcise himself and his son. Ismael, and the others would then emulate his example. True to his advice, after Abraham and his son were circumcised, the rest of his household were circumcised too.   … Could not Abraham have convinced his servants of the need to accept the command of G-d? Could not Abraham, a man of princely esteem and royal bearing, a man of dignity and persuasive eloquence, summon his powers of logic and elocution to sway the thinking of his servants? Has Jewish history ever witnessed a more articulate spokesman for the word of G-d? Apparently, we must conclude that here are times when the conviction of logic and the power of remonstration are not enough. There exists a more pressing argument than the finesse of eloquent rhetoric. And that is the power of example. … Too often e fail to appreciate how important a message this is. AS educators or as parents, we tend to think that words are the instrument which will inspire our youth and evoke the soundness of character we try to instill.   But from this Da’as Z’keinim, we now see that we have no more effective method of stimulating good conduct and inspiring our youth than through developing within ourselves the pattern of behavior we expect from our children. Regardless of the soundness of our beliefs, and irrespective of the elucidation of our thinking, there exists no more convincing logic than the argument of example.  BUILD 58-9
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GENESIS — 18:2 entrance

A person should seek out guests, even in difficult circumstances.   As a rule the Torah is extremely concise, but in this section the Torah describes all the small details of Abraham’s behavior with his guests.  This, wrote the Chofetz Chayim, is meant to teach us the importance of hachnosas orchim – hospitality to guests.  Abraham was very old and had just undergone circumcision.   Although he was in great pain, he nevertheless sat by the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day, hoping to see a sojourner whom he could invite to his home.  Even if we are unable to emulate Abraham completely, we should at least learn the fundamental principle of appreciate guests.   Ahavas Chesed, part 3, ch. 2.  Following an operation we might not be able to invite guests as Abraham did.   But at least we should learn from Abraham to invite guests even when it is difficult.   PLYN 58-9
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