Torah: VaYera

VaYera: The huppah [wedding canopy] symbolizes the tent of Abraham and Sarah, the model Jewish home. In the opening verses of this week’s Torah reading, Abraham is sitting at the entrance to his desert tent when he spots strangers. He rushes out to greet them. Bowing, he says, “Please my master, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass from before your servant. Let some water be brought and wash your feet. Rest under a tree and I will get a morsel of bread to refresh you” [Genesis 18:1-7]. Abraham and his wife then prepare a lavish meal for their guests. The sages of the Talmud will teach that God chose this couple for relationship due to their concern for the stranger. They also exemplified that we should promise little and deliver much in the way of kindness. The huppah is identified with the joy of new beginnings and the deepest bonds of love. Open on all four sides, the huppahsymbolizes that our welcome of the stranger defines the values of our family and our relationship with God.