RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
By Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Rabbi Matya the son of Charash would say: Be first to greet every man. Be a tail to lions, rather than a head to foxes.
Rabbi Yaakov would say: This world is comparable to the antechamber before the World to Come. Prepare yourself in the antechamber, so that you may enter the banquet hall.”
Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Not only for the reason stated in the above verse, but also to recognize that every human being is somehow connected to each other and that whether we like it or not we are all one big Mischpocha (Family) and by greeting everyone you see, even stranger and the so called “undesirables” you recognize that fact and instantly give that person value and worth and a healthy shot of self esteem.
Prov. A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.
Something as small as a smile, a tip of the hat, a simple, “hello” can go a long way. When you bless someone like that in turn you may be blessed by them when you really need it. Just pulling a scenario out of my head; but lets say your car breaks down and your without a cell phone, a stranger you may greet everyday may see you and say, “Hey, there’s that nice guy who always says ‘hello’ to me, I’m going to stop and help him.”
In this way you become a leader of sorts in promoting peace and kindness to all. This small positive act you do can be contagious in a good way.
Regarding verse 21, all we do here prepares us for eternity, the world to come.
“This world is like the eve of Sabbath, and the World to Come is like Sabbath. He who prepares on the eve of the Sabbath will have food to eat on the Sabbath.” – Talmud, Avodah, Zarah 3a)
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr