Honorable Mensch-ion


While I have little experience camping, I do know that pitching a tent is a must. A Jewish tent seems to differ from the tents we are used to.

Mah tovu ohalecha Yakov, how good are your tents, oh Jacob. The tents of our tradition are not closed, but are rather open on each side. A chupa, for example, a wedding canopy, allows the public to see into the most intimate sacred moment. The Talmud teaches that creating peace between people offers rewards both in this world and in the next. We do this by greeting people properly. Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky once visited a Yeshiva and witnessed intense Torah study. No one wasted time with idle conversation. Yet, the house of study lacked warmth. Not one person greeted the Rabbi. Our tradition teaches, “Neglecting to greet someone is like stealing a person’s pride.” The Rabbi immediately changed the yeshiva’s custom. He established a system of shifts where one student would always learn near the door and be on duty to greet any newcomer who walked in.

This system works in a Yeshiva, but it also works in our everyday life. Did we greet the cashier the last time we checked out of the supermarket? Did we greet our Uber driver as we entered his/her car? Did we greet our child’s teacher as we dropped him/her off in a hurry on the way to work?

It is no surprise that the Hebrew word for hello and goodbye also means peace. All it takes is a quick shalom.

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