Home Subscribe Services Support Us

The Disheveled Guest

by Rabbi Yissocher Frand

Excerpted with permission from RABBI FRAND ON THE PARASHAH-2. Published by ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications Ltd.

Rabbi Avraham Pam's father was a rabbi in Europe. Each Friday night, the shamash (attendant) would walk around the shul to greet all the guests in town, and to make sure that each one had a place to eat the Shabbos meal. As we would expect, distinguished-looking guests had no difficulty being invited; the congregants vied for the rights of hosting a guest bedecked in a perfectly pressed suit or frock. The bedraggled beggars who made their way from town to town, on the other hand, were usually not as fortunate; no one rushed to invite them for a meal. The shamash was charged with the unenviable task of distributing such guests among the reluctant worshipers who had not been lucky enough to host a "respectable" guest. If there was one person left over at the end of the shamash's rounds, you could be sure that the person was a true pauper, an uncouth, unsightly fellow whom no one would want at his Shabbos table.

Once, when the shamash finished his rounds, there were two people who had not been placed. One had the obvious mark of a Torah scholar; his dignified bearing bespoke refined character and scholarship. The other was a rather disheveled, corpulent fellow, the type of guest everyone avoided.

When the shamash asked Rabbi Pam's father whom he wanted to host, he asked for the obese man, and sent the Torah scholar with someone else. "If I were looking for a study partner," Rabbi Pam senior explained to the shamash, "I would have opted for that fine-looking gentleman. He looks like he knows how to learn very well. I am looking for a guest. To fulfill the mitzvah of hosting guests properly, you need someone who can eat. The fellow I chose looks like a good eater."

Reprinted with permission from



View Complete List

'Moment'ary Blunders
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Drowning in a Lack of Heaven
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5775

Making Something of Nothing
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5764


The Gift of Meat
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

Generation to Generation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Saved From a Rainy Day
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Flood of Something...
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

The Shame Of Cham
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

The Day Falsehood Married Destruction
Shlomo Katz - 5761

> Too Perfect
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Noah's Spiritual Leadership
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

New Beginnings
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Flood
Shlomo Katz - 5769

The Perfect Storm
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Leave They Must
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Beshegam Hu Moshe?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information