Aug 29, 2010
Rare Hachnassat Orchim (video)
A beautiful "Only in Israel" story happened on Friday.
A huge traffic jam caused by an accident caused drivers on their way to Jerusalem before Shabbos to be stuck in traffic to the point that they knew they could no longer make it in time before the the beginning of Shabbos.
Motorists, realizing the time, pulled over to the side of the highway and parked their cars and started walking. They walked into the nearby town of Adam.
When the locals realized what was going on, and that Shabbos was just minutes away, they sent people down to help the stranded come up with their bags.
Everybody who wanted was given accommodations - places to sleep and eat. Nobody was left unattended.
It is a beautiful case of spontaneous hospitality. It seems that nowadays it is very difficult to really fulfill the chessed of hachnassat orchim - the way we live is no longer with the lone traveler who needs a place to sleep or eat for a bit. It happens, but is fairly rare. This is a situation that happens once in a while on the highway outside of Jerusalem (I have heard of it happening once in a while also near the town of Telshe Stone) and seems to be a rare situation of pure hachnassat orchim.
It is wonderful that the people can get together and gather their resources to help out in this way. As well, as the writers says in the article, it is also beautiful that people realize the sanctity of the Shabbos and are willing to take such risks to preserve it - leave their cars on the side of the road, walk along the highway not knowing if they would have a place to go, etc.
And once on the topic, this is a good opportunity to remind people when travelling before Shabbos, always leave with a lot of extra time - don't leave your drive, no matter how short it might be, for the last minute.