May 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Vayera: The Cup Runneth Over

Bereishit: 18:1-9

-I’m speechless.

-Really, you don’t like it?

-No, no, I do. I’ve just never seen anything like it before.

-Isn’t it something?

-Yes, it is definitely something. But what is it?

-It is a 60-cup silver Kiddush wine fountain.

-A what?

-You know, you pour the wine in the top and it pours out into all the little cups underneath.

-Yes, I know. I’ve seen an eight-cup Kiddush wine fountain before, and I’ve heard of a 16-cup fountain, but 60 cups?

-Yes, It’s five tiers of cups. Four, eight, and three rows of sixteen.

-I can see that. But 60 cups!

-Yes, they’re sterling silver. The whole thing is sterling. And those sculpted grapes and vine leaves are unique to this piece.

-It must have cost a fortune.

-Actually, it was two thous-

-Don’t tell me how much it cost. I thought it was a gift.

-It is a gift. It’s for you and the rebbetzin.

-I can’t accept this.

-Of course you can. The money is nothing to me, and it’s the perfect gift for you and Shira. I had to order it special in Jerusalem and have it shipped to Elizabeth just for you.

-But why?

-Because it represents what you’ve done for our shul.

-I give out wine to the congregation?

-You’re kidding, Rabbi, right?

-Yes, to some degree. Yes. But I still don’t get it.

-Do you know how they say Avraham Avinu had a tent with four open sides so that he could always receive guests?

-Yes, I know the story.

-Well, as I’m sure you know, the source of the story is obscure. A midrash? It doesn’t make a difference. The tent is wonderfully symbolic of Avraham’s incredible hachnasat orchim, his outrageous hospitality to strangers. When the three angels came to visit, he served them despite having recently been circumcised. That’s some mighty fine hospitality. And that four-cornered tent? It’s the perfect symbol of his kindness.

-I agree. The tent is fantastic.

-And that’s what the fountain is, Rabbi. It’s the symbol of what you’ve done for our community.

-I know I will regret this, but how so?

-Since you and Shira joined our community less than two years ago, you have hosted almost every family in the synagogue. That’s a lot of cholent and gefilte fish.

-True.

-And a lot of grape juice. This fountain is the modern symbol of all of your amazing hachnasat orchim. It’s your tent.

-Wow. That’s very kind of you. Very crazy, but also very kind.

-Thanks, but that’s not all. It’s also the symbol of all the Torah you’ve spread among your congregants, one small drop at a time. It adds up, you know.

-Again, so very crazy and kind of you. But can I ask you a rather practical question?

-Of course.

-You can only use the Kiddush fountain for 60 cups. It pours out of every spout. As hospitable as you think we are, we have never hosted 60 guests in our entire lives.

-True.

-So what are we supposed to do with it?

-I figure we should bring it to shul and fill it with grape juice for the big kiddushim. The kids will love it.

-Interesting idea.

-And think of the hit it will be if I crank in some single malt.

-You really have thought of everything.

-I try.

-But I’m afraid that last idea is out of the question.

-Yes, Rabbi, I knew you would say that.

 

By Larry Stiefel

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