Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Teves 5763 - December 11, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

An Apartment for Shabbos
by R. Chadshai

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 apartment.

My, isn't she inconsiderate you might be saying.

Go ahead, I say. Invite guests. But not at the expense of others!

Big deal, some are probably thinking.You can put a few mattresses on the floor, and solve the problem that way.

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 my guests.

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 points.

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 staying home.

Please, then, dear friends, think about us too!

Waiting for your reactions to this letter.


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