Dan Pezet

Hospitality: When Night Ends and Day Begins

In an almost random internet search, I happened across this powerful Jewish tale that helps us to understand the Bible’s instructions for dealing with strangers in our midst:


An old rabbi once asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended and the day had begun.

“Could it be,” asked one student, “when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it’s a sheep or a dog?”

“No,” answered the rabbi.

Another asked, “Is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it’s a fig tree or a palm tree?”

“No,” answered the rabbi.

The pupils were confused and had no other answers to offer.
“Then what is it?” the pupils demanded.

“It is when you can look on the face of a stranger and see a friend. Because if you cannot see this, it is still night.” (Hasidim Tale)

This story serves as a reminder of how we should encounter strangers in the world. When we leave our houses, do we only pay attention to those who are familiar to us, or do we see strangers as an opportunity to welcome a new friend?

This story would also be a wonderful training story to use in church greeter training. Greeters must have the ability to receive a stranger as a friend, and provide excellent hospitality to all people.


image credit: Author Unknown