Ethics of the Fathers 1.5 Hospitality to Guests

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.”


About johnmhummasti

Was the victim of Human Rights Abuses (e.g. Hummasti v Bell, 98-3651-JTC) while a patient in the custody of the US Attorney General and hospitalized under 18 USC 4241 through 4244, et seq.! Interests: Biblical Studies, Talmudic Studies, Dead Sea (Yam Melek [Sea of Kings Soferim]) Scrolls, Scribal (Stam Sofer) Traditions, Cantorial (Hazzan) Psalms (Tehillim). Illustrated Calligraphy (e.g. Ketuvim [Jewish Marriage Contracts], Poetry). Self Published Manuscripts and Screen Plays at yhummastiscribd web site:
This entry was posted in Conflict Resolution, Israel, Judaism, Zionism. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Ethics of the Fathers 1.5 Hospitality to Guests

  1. Scott Sewell says:

    A logical perspective


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s