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.