Once upon a time, some Hasidim came to their teacher, the Maggid of Mezheritz, “Rebbe we’re puzzled. It says in Talmud, that we must thank God as much for bad days as for good. But how can that be? What would our gratitude mean if we gave it equally for the good and the bad?
The sage replied, “Go to Anapol, Reb Zusya will have an answer for you. They found him on the poorest street of the town, between two small, poor houses, living in a tiny shack, where they knocked”.
“Welcome strangers” said Zusya, who was sitting at a bare table, reading. ”Please pardon me for not getting up. I’ve hurt by leg. Would you like food? I have some bread! And there is water!”
“No, thank you. We have come only to ask a question. Our spiritual teacher, the Maggid of Mezheritz told us you might help us to understand. Why do our sages tell us to be grateful as much for bad days as for the good?”
Reb Zusya laughed. “Me? I have no idea why the great sage sent you here to me!” He shook his head in puzzlement. “You see, I have never really had a bad day. Every day God has given me has had with it some blessing or miracle. Like your coming here – so sit, and eat!”
I know: Too often the word “hospitality” conjures up images of social expectations set by Martha Stewart. But it is simpler than that. At root, it is one of the most basic and ancient of spiritual virtues. And it is therefore also profound and complex.
Come join us this Sunday as we explore the deeper meanings of radical hospitality.