I would be happy if the following points were discussed in
your paper: We are a young couple who live in a neighborhood
where there are both young families and families with married
children. (Actually, there are more of the second kind.) It's
quite common, and understandable too, that families who
invite guests for the entire Shabbos are certain that their
younger neighbors, who go away nearly every Shabbos, will be
happy to offer them their charming apartments.
But, have you ever thought about how we feel about this? Not
everyone is interested in accommodating strangers with a
number of kids in her recently cleaned and shined
My, isn't she inconsiderate you might be saying.
Go ahead, I say. Invite guests. But not at the expense of
Big deal, some are probably thinking.You can put a
few mattresses on the floor, and solve the problem that
Fine and dandy! But for us, this effort can sometimes involve
both a physical and an emotional strain. Just stop a minute
and envision how you would feel if you went away, knowing
that strangers were in your home. What kind of a Shabbos
would you have? Believe it or not, a guest once asked me if
so-and-so had been my classmate.
"What makes you thing that?" I asked a bit suspiciously.
"Well, I saw her picture in your album," she replied without
a trace of shame.
All this is in addition to the problems of cleanliness, the
fingerprints on the furniture, and the unfamiliar odor which
lingers in the house for two days following the visit.
Actually, I invite guests a lot of times, putting up the kids
in my living room and hall, and giving the parents a
private room. Why not? I do all this, though, without
exploiting other neighbors, and without asking them to put up
Of course I understand that when there's a simcha in
the neighborhood, everyone should help. At such times, I am
always happy to pitch in and do my best.
I also know that families who are looking for apartments for
their Shabbos guests have no bad intentions, and just might
not have thought about all the points I have mentioned. Many
families, too, don't mind giving their apartments for
Shabbos. But the truth is, that I discussed the matter with a
lot of friends, and nearly all of them agreed with my
Every week, people ask if our apartment will be available for
Shabbos. I hate to say it, but that's precisely why we try to
stay home. Refusing to give away our apartment is hard too.
It makes us feel selfish and egocentric, and that's not a
pleasant feeling. But we really don't want to accommodate
guests every week, so we avoid that situation by simply
Please, then, dear friends, think about us too!
Waiting for your reactions to this letter.