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Rav Hillel Van-Leeuwen is head of Leadership Development at World Mizrachi

Parashat Vayera describes Avraham "Sitting at the entrance of the tent at the heat of day." According to Chazal, it was three days after his circumcision, in great pain, so G-d visited him and arranged for a hot day so nobody will bother Avraham.

When Avraham is sadden by having no guests, he summons 3 human-looking angels. Avraham asks G-d to bear with him: “Please do not pass over your servant." From here we learn how great hospitality is – even more than dwelling in G-d’s presence.

Some people think that Bein Adam L’Makom is the essence of Judaism; they might invest less in Bein Adam L’Chavero, i.e. being extreme strict with kashrut, even at the cost of offending people and harming unity, or investing endless hours in Torah study even at times when the wife / children / friends need their help. But one should prioritize differently: every mitzvah Bein Adam L’Chavero is ultimately also a mitzvah Bein Adam L’Makom, for G-d himself commanded us in the Torah to love others, to give charity, to care for an orphan and a widow, etc. Indeed, Bein Adam L’Chavero is therefore twice as important!

When discussing various types of tzaddikim, the Gemara (Kidushin 40) comments that some are “good righteous men” while others are “righteous but not good”. In "Ben Yehoyada", the Ben Ish Chai asks: If a person isn’t good, how can we call him a tzaddik? If one is bad to others, he cannot be considered good to G-d; for we must be careful about transgressions between man and his neighbor, more than transgressions between man and G-d!? His answer: “Bad to others" – does not mean harming others, but speaking negatively about them. G-d does not allow slander within His People (“Bad to others”), even for good reasons (good to G-d)!

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