What’s the connection between hospitality and foot-washing?


This week, the fourth graders began their exploration of Parshat Vayera (Genesis 18) as part of their Humash (Torah) curriculum.  We spent time learning how to work in hevruta (partnership pairs), within which one reads the verse, the other translates it and both write down the translation.  In the picture above, two students are working cooperatively as a hevruta.  At the end of each small section, the students then write down questions that they have about what they just read.  As part of this unit, we spent time talking about and exploring the different ways that one shows hospitality.  While it might seem strange that Abraham showed hospitality and welcomed guests by washing their feet, we connected it to how hot and tired the guests’ feet would be after walking in the desert.  Viewed from this perspective, his washing their feet was the ultimate act of welcome and of providing for his guests!