Earlier this week, I took our car to a Toyota dealer near where we are staying because the maintenance light (the reminder to take the car in for its periodic service) came on. After I checked in, I was led into the "Bistro" complete with comfortable chairs, large screen televisions, or high chairs/tables (where I sat off to the side), and a family room. The concierge at the food bar directed me to the coffee machine and toasted a bagel for me, all complimentary. I sat at my table where I could go online via wifi to catch up on emails. When my car was done (all was well), the service agent who checked me in came to tell me my car was ready. It was an experience in "complete welcoming." I witnessed the fulfillment of the mitzvah/commandment of "Hachnasat orchim," hospitality, at a Toyota dealer!
This is experience is one that we do offer guests in our homes. As the rabbi of a small congregation, it would be great to have a concierge, a coffee/pastry/bagel bar, wifi, and a variety of comfortable seating options. Yet, we all do our best with whatever we have, creating opportunities for people to be comfortable in the physical space which we provide for them. When I became Bar Mitzvah, I read the section from the Torah about Abraham, Sarah and their servants welcoming three mysterious guests who had come their way (bringing a special message: that Sarah and Abraham were going to have a child). So, it is important to create our own "bistro" atmosphere when offering our hospitalty, because we never know who may walk through our door!