In life, we can either let our experiences make us bitter, or we can channel that feeling towards being a good example in order to improve things.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

What an experience

shoshana tagged me to write an Israel experience that I had or one that I heard. Since I haven't been to Israel (yea, I know I need to go ASAP) I'll post about something I read.

I love this article by Sara Yocheved Rigler called
A Taste Of Heaven which is about this lovely couple in Jerusalem who invite and have a huge number of guests in their home for Shabbos and Yom Tov. Eventhough a lot of people there have a lot of guests, this couple has an extraordinary amount and they keep it up every shabbos.

Here's a piece from the article

""For more than two decades Rabbi Mordechai and Henny Machlis have opened their home to an amazing assortment of Shabbat guests. Every week 60-100 guests show up for Friday night dinner, and an equal number for Shabbat lunch. Who comes? Travelers, yeshiva students, university students, the homeless, the mentally ill, Hadassah ladies, tourists, lost souls, U.J.A. mission visitors, new immigrants, drunkards, widows, orphans, Sar El volunteers for Israel, Birthright participants, and truth seekers.

While most of their guests are from English-speaking countries, the Machlis family has hosted people from every continent, and from countries as far away as Japan, China, and the Philippines.

Some people come hungry for food -- the ample helpings of home-cooked gefilte fish, chicken soup, chicken with barbeque sauce, at least three kinds of kugel, an array of salads, vegetarian alternatives, and four kinds of cake. Of course, destitute souls could pick up food at a public soup kitchen, but what is Shabbat without Shabbat songs and words of Torah, which Rabbi Machlis provides as profusely as his wife's cooking?

Some people come hungry for love and warmth. Two orphaned young women in their early twenties have an apartment and good jobs, but on Shabbat they miss the family atmosphere they once knew. A refined 67-year-old widow ate alone every Shabbat for five years after her husband died; her independent persona dissuaded her friends from inviting her. Now all three enjoy the palpable warmth of the Machlis table.

Some people come for the spiritual inspiration and unconditional acceptance Rabbi Machlis radiates. Religious and secular guests sit side-by-side, most wearing kipot, some opting not to. Most people say the appropriate blessings, often for the first time; some opt not to. Everyone is encouraged to say a few words, of introduction or wisdom or personal reflection. Everyone is lovingly received.""

When I eventually go to Israel IY'H, I would love to check out this experience.


kasamba said...

Aren't people like that amazing???? They are literally walking Kidush Hashems.
Saying that, there are plenty of people here in London who do the same! Come visit us on the way to Israel!

David_on_the_Lake said...

I lived right near him in Israel..

Michelle said...

I was in Israel for 4 days total. At least it was a family simcha, and I was paid for to stay at the King David. Am I complaining?

Lvnsm27 said...

Kasamba, I agree, they are amazing.
Also where you live huh? Cool. :)

david, wow

Pragmatician said...

I have so much admiration for people whose Shabbes homes are filled with guests of all walks.
At least they get to meet interesting people, and hear fascinating tales.
Something else than "heard the news?"

Shoshana said...

I had the fortune of being at their house for a meal - they are absolutely amazing people.

Great job on completing the tag! Hope you get to go to Israel yoursefl very soon.

Jewish Thinker said...

I've been there many,many times and they are extended relations of mine.Wonderful people and the experience is fantastic.

When I was there they had a homeless person sleeping in their car. This is a family with barely any living space, and they put themselves out wihtout ever thinking twice.

The good that they do and the kindnesses they extend go well beyond their Shabbos meals. When they are away for Shabbos or in America, they put food out in front of their house, so that people who arrive expecting a meal, will still have what to eat.

Lvnsm27 said...

Prag, I agree

Shoshana and JT, that's cool that you both went. Glad you both had a good time.

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I ate there once and could not imagine doing it even one time in my home let alone every week.

Lvnsm27 said...

I know, it's incredible how they do it. Deffinately a gift

Eshet Chayil said...

Visiting Israel is great. I'm sure soon enough you'll have your own beautiful experience there to write about. Lovely post.

Lvnsm27 said...


kraize1 said...

I was there just last year, and I'll tell you it is quite the experience. My family just plopped ourselves down at one of the many tables and waited for everyone to arrive. We found one very normal American (young and frum) couple there, it was their first time too. It was as diverse as it gets. Our table alone represented 5 countries, and various levels of frumkeit. "Nebs" and non-"nebs" alike came that day. ANd everyone stands up and says some d'var torah or as R. Machlis says, "teaches". The house is packed packed packed and the food supply amazes me. Send him a donation after shabbos to support their amazing chesed, not many of his visitors do.

Lvnsm27 said...

Thanks for sharing.