PIRKE AVOT 1.5. Yossei the son of Yochanan of Jerusalem would say: Let your home be wide open, and let the poor be members of your household. And do not engage in excessive conversation with a woman. This is said even regarding one’s own wife–how much more so regarding the wife of another. Hence, the sages said: One who excessively converses with a woman causes evil to himself, neglects the study of Torah, and, in the end, inherits purgatory.
This statement might be easily misunderstood, And do not engage in excessive conversation with a woman.
QUESTION: What is the connection between not indulging excessively in conversation with a woman and practicing hospitality?
ANSWER: The Gemara (Bava Metzia 87a) says “Women do not have a good attitude towards guests.” This may mean that when guests come to the home, it is the burden of the women to make all the preparations, and thus, due to the bother, they would rather not have the guests at all. Yosei ben Yochanan is indicating that one’s house should be wide open for guests and that one should invite poor people to one’s home and make them comfortable. A person may find it difficult to follow this advice due to his wife’s reluctance to cooperate. Therefore, he advises, “Al tarbeh — do not go out of your way with lavish preparations — sichah im ha’isha — should be the conversation between you and your wife.” Thus, she will cooperate with you to open your home wide for guests.
There are many people who talk a lot but do little. The Mishnah is teaching, “Do not have lengthy conversations with your wife about the guests, but roll up your sleeves and help her with the preparations, and thus she will happily agree to have guests in the home.”