For the week ending 12 June 2010 / 29 Sivan 5770

The Late Guests

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: As a hostess who frequently invites young ladies studying at seminaries here in Jerusalem for a Shabbat meal, I am sometimes upset when my guests turn up much after my family is ready to sit down for the meal and sometimes fail to show up altogether. This makes me reconsider extending such invitations. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: Offering a Shabbat meal in your home for young ladies away from home is a great mitzvah of hachnasat orchim and you must continue with your hospitality. You must take into account that the seminary students may not be aware of your meal schedule and that sometimes the invitation which was arranged by them by the seminary's representative was not considered as a positive commitment on their part.

Our suggestion is that you make known to whoever calls you what your meal schedule is. If it is not the students themselves who call you but a seminary official, make your invitation conditional upon the students calling to confirm that they are coming.

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