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Parshat Vayera

For those that have ever been travelling you will understand the way in which strangers shape your experiences. The stories that we most often remember from our travels involve a kind stranger often a meal and always kindness to a whole new level. We all have these stories, I want to share one from when I was in Year 12.

I had planned to meet my parents in rural Western Australia , Kununurra to be exact. I was flying on a Friday and after a delayed flight to Perth my flight to Kununurra was cancelled. I was left in Perth and for reasons unbeknownst to me with $100 on my card. The airline gave me one nights accommodation but the only flight I could take was the none that left on Sunday morning so I paid for a second, $2.30 left on my card. I had a place to stay but no food. In a moment of inspiration I called up the Perth Hebrew Congregation who found me a place for Friday night immediately. After navigating Perth from what I remembered from google maps, I found the shule and was invited into the warmest family in Perth. I do not remember their names but only the warmth they provided me with. We ate and played hearts until late into the night. I was invited bac for lunch the next day. I returned back to my hotel room exhausted and fell asleep. Almost 15 hours later I awoke to find it was once again dark outside. I had slept through my lunch invitation and was starving. I set out in search of food but remembered that I only had a measly $2.30 to my name. There was no kosher restaurant and so I searched for a fully vegetarian restaurant. After hours of searching I stumbled upon an Indian restaurant. I was starving (in a first world sense) and broke (in a first world sense). I reached the desk and explained to the man my situation. There may have been a tear or two. He looked me up and down after I had finished and then stepped around the desk and gave me a big hug, a hug that lasted for only moments in our temporal world but infinitely long in my memory. He looked at me and told me that I could eat anything I wanted and not pay.

This weekend in Perth was formative. It showed me the power of strangers and hospitality. Beyond Avraham's role as a Jewish leader he was a mensch. He was the epitome of hospitality.

Let us all remember the power strangers have over us and the be those powerful strangers to others.

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