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Abraham's Hospitality

by Nissan Mindel

Talks and Tales


Library » History » Patriarchs, 12 Tribes | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Beer-Sheba was like a garden in the desert. All around it, as far as the eye could see, there were barren hills or sandy wastes. No wonder the green, tall palm trees of Beer-Sheba were a welcome sight to all the wayfarers. They knew that in Beer-Sheba there dwelt a wonderful old couple, Abraham and Sarah. This couple had built a huge house with entrances on all the four sides. No matter from what direction the wayfarer came, a large sign with WELCOME on it greeted him.

Around the house Abraham had planted a wonderful garden in which grew the most delicious fruits and berries. Most wonderful of all was a magnificent palm tree in the center of the garden. The trees seemed to know every stranger that came to sit under its branches. If the wayfarer was an honest and G-d-fearing man, the palm tree would spread forth its branches to shield the visitor from the sun or wind. But if it was an idol worshipper, the palm tree would lift up its branches and offer no protection.

Whenever he saw the palm tree behave in an unfriendly way towards a visitor he would go up to the man and show him special kindness
Abraham was always busy with his many visitors. Whenever he saw the palm tree behave in an unfriendly way towards a visitor he would go up to the man and show him special kindness. He would tell him about G-d, the Creator of the world, and how silly it was to worship idols of wood or stone. Before long the palm tree would spread forth its branches to give shelter to the man, for the idol-worshipper was a changed man.

Sarah was as kind and as generous as Abraham. She would take care of the women visitors. At night, when everybody else was fast asleep, there was still a candle burning in Sarah's tent. She was making dresses and things for the poor and needy. G-d sent a cloud of Light over her tent, to make it light and bright in her tent.

From far and near men and women came to Beer-Sheba to seek help, advice, and comfort. Weary and sorrowful they came; happy and cheerful they left. When they wanted to thank Abraham and Sarah for their kindness, they were told to thank G-d instead. "But where is this G-d?" the astonished visitors would ask. "His glory fills the heaven and earth," was the reply. And away went the strangers blessing the G-d of Abraham and Sarah.
From Talks and Tales, published by Kehot Publication Society. Available at



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First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
First Jewess, first of the four Jewish Matriarchs, wife of Abraham--the first Jew. Lived in Mesopotamia, and then Canaan, in the 19th century BCE.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.