gnomi: (kitty)
[personal profile] gnomi
Today we celebrated my parents' 50th anniversary, and I was asked to be among the speakers. (Because no one comes to parties to hear the speeches, I suggested my parents keep the talky part of the party to no more than 30 minutes. Each of the speakers was allotted five minutes.) I gave the following d'var Torah (talk on the parsha (the week's Torah portion)).

In this week's parsha, Re'eh, we read a lot about the Jewish holidays, about what we should do when we first enter the land, and about blessings and curses we will get depending on whether or not we listen to what Hashem tells us to do once we enter the land. And none of those topics seemed appropriate for an anniversary party. But then in Deuteronomy chapter 15, verses 12-14 we read:

If your brother, a Jewish man or a Jewish woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you for six years, and in the seventh year you shall send him forth free from you.

And when you send him forth free from you, you shall not send him forth empty-handed.

You shall surely provide him from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your wine press; you shall give him from what Hashem, your God, has blessed you.


Now, I lived in my parents' home for 18 years, and I'm not saying that I was a slave, but they did send me away, as I went to Israel and then to college. And one thing that I learned from my parents is that you never leave their house empty handed. Whether it's leftovers from whatever meal you just ate with them, or an item my mother or father saw that they thought you'd like, or something my mother found in the basement that she thought would be useful to you, it would find its way into your hands. And they passed that value on to us, and we try to live the same way, with our homes open to both friends and strangers, and no one leaves empty handed. Though this was the third Shabbat running that someone left a jacket at our place.

So to Ima and Abba, my parents, I say mazal tov on fifty years of marriage. Thank you for teaching us the importance of hachnasat orchim, the welcoming of guests, as can be seen from this beautiful party, and may you have many more years to come. Ad meah v'esrim (until 120).
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