Monday, July 24, 2006


Welcoming and Giving
The Reverend Nathan Day Wilson

Hayya’s home in Tel Aviv, Israel, was open to all. There was hardly a day when she and her husband did not have guests. All sorts of people ate at their table, and everyone was treated like a king or queen. Some guests lived in the house for months at a time; sometimes there were ten such guests, at other times as many as thirty! All of them were made to feel as if they were in their own home.

Her son told the story of a time when his mother sent him to borrow some money from a neighbor. When he returned with the money in hand, she took the envelope with the money in it from him, placed it somewhere, and never even opened it.

Her son asked, "Mother, why did you borrow the money if you didn't want to use it?"

"I did it," she explained, "so that our neighbor won't be ashamed to borrow from us when he's in need."

Hayya gave, and even her taking was giving.

These stories, shortened by me, are from Jewish Tales of Holy Women. I share them for a couple reasons. In this time of intensified crisis in the Middle East, it is good to remind ourselves of the beautiful stories and values coming from that region. There are many!

I also share the story because of its reminder to welcome all people and to give generously. Not only are these important qualities for us in our homes, they are key for us as a church!

See you soon at the place where we welcome and give to all people –