Abraham And The Angels

Reprinted with permission of the Holy Beggars’ Gazette Vol 2 No 3

Not for commercial redistribution without consent
from the Estate of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

House of Love and Prayer, San Francisco CA, 5734
Rabbeinu speaking:



     Abraham was the first Jew, the first messenger of God on earth. The first
thing Abraham did was to open his house; in fact he took away the doors.
Everybody was welcome. Abraham didn’t preach to the sinners, “Listen you
dirty pagans, you are going to hell.” He just took them in and told them, “This
is my house and this is your house too.” Then people would stay there for a long
time and when they left they would thank Abraham. He would say, “Don’t
thank me, thank G-d.” Then the people would ask, “Who is this G-d you are
talking about? My god doesn’t have a man like you.” Then Abraham would tell
“There is only One G-d.”

    Abraham always had visitors. If you remember, one day G-d made it very hot
and nobody was on the street, in order that Abraham could have a little rest.
Actually it was a test, a very deep test. You see, most people want to do good
when they see a poor man, a cripple who is moaning and sad. At the sight of a
poor man they feel guilty. “I’m rich, he is poor, it doesn’t look good. I’d better
give him a few Rubles.” But if the poor man isn’t there, who needs him?
Abraham is not stirred to do good only when he sees a poor man. Abraham
always wants to do good. He can sit all alone, or even have a revelation of G-d,
the highest revelation there is, and it doesn’t satisfy him. “I gotta do something
good.” So he calls in his man Eliezer, and he says, “Do me a favor. There must
be some poor men around here somewhere, so you better go get them.” So
Eliezer runs around the street and he is looking. He runs back to Abraham and
says, “My holy master, I’m sorry to tell you, there is nobody in the street.”
Abraham says, “I can’t even trust my man Eliezer any more. There has to be
someone on the street.” Then G-d sees that Abraham really wants to do good. If
you really want to do good the opportunity is always right there. Three little
pagans came. I’m sure you know the story; they were really angels, but they
looked like pagans. In fact, they were not just like simple pagans, but like certain
pagans who were worshipping the dust on their feet, the lowest kind of pagan,
worshipping dust. So Abraham should say to himself, “I’m sitting here having a
revelation of G-d, the holiest moment of my life, and here’s three lousy pagans
coming.” Even if he were a good man he could say, Eliezer, do me a favour. I’m
busy with G-d, and everybody knows G-d has nobody better. In fact, I was
voted in Heaven “Best Man of the Year”. Or he could have asked another one of
his many servants to take care of the visitors. Instead Abraham gets up and he
runs to the three little pagans and he is begging them to please come to his
house. The Talmud says from that we learn that to welcome strangers is deeper
than to speak to G-d.

    This was Abraham’s acid test. The acid test of a person is: Do you really know
what you are doing in the world? Do you really know what G-d wants of you?
As much as you are here to have revelations of G-d, the greatest thing is if you
make a place for someone, a little place for even one minute. When you are
dead, you are dead. This may be sad, but it is not painful. But if someone walks
around and he has absolutely no place in the world this is the greatest pain.
While you say hello to someone you have to make a little place for them in your
heart. Maybe people’s feet stand on the ground, but their hearts need another
heart to have a place in.

  When am I absolutely closest to G-d? G-d can reveal Himself to me in His
entirety, but how much am I G-d? I am most G-d when I welcome a stranger.
Why? What is G-d doing? G-d is making a place for the world. Every little
creature has a place. Making places is the biggest thing. If I see a sweet little
stranger and he feels so low, he has no place In the world, and I tell him, “Come
to my house; I’ll make a place for you”; this is reaching to the depths of the
world. It is so simple, it doesn’t cost anything, and we don’t do it.

  The Zohar Chadash asks what it is to really have a covenant with G-d. A lot
of people have a covenant with G-d and they are G-d drunk. They are
completely with G-d, but they are not world drunk. They don’t see the people
anymore, especially if the people are pagans according to their theory. A person
who has a true covenant with G-d has to be completely aware of every little
pagan in the world. After G-d entered the covenant with Abraham, He said,
“Okay, let’s see if you know where it’s at. I’m going to reveal myself to you, and
while I’m revealing myself, three little pagans will show their faces. Let’s see how
you act.” You have to realize, it must have been a very high revelation, because
otherwise it would not have been a test. Three lousy pagans come, and they
must have been the lowest pagans in the world to be a contrast. Abraham said to
G-d, “I’m sorry. I love you very much, but they must be thirsty and hungry.”
Imagine if Abraham would have said, “I am busy right now.” Do you know what
would have happened? The three angels were the ones who were bringing the
message from G-d that Abraham would have a son Isaac, and that ultimately it
will be the people Israel who will bring the Messiah who will bring redemption to
the world. If Abraham would not have welcomed the three strangers, he would
never have had Isaac and there would never be a Messiah, and the whole world
most probably would be destroyed one way or another.

by  Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
Posted in: Personal Growth