Shabbat comes in 3.52 pm: goes out 4.57 pm
The parsha begins with the words “and the Lord appeared to him (Avraham)…and he looked up and saw three men standing over him. Upon seeing them, he ran towards them from the entrance of the tent and bowed toward the ground.” Ignoring the fact that God had just appeared to Avraham and likely has some divine message to reveal to the patriarch, Avraham arranges for food and water for these three wayfarers.
It is as if Avraham puts God on hold in order to serve these strangers. The Talmud (Shabbat 127a) praises Avraham’s actions when it affirms: “hospitality to wayfarers is greater than welcoming the presence of the Shechinah for it is written, ‘My Lord, if it please you, do not go on past Your servant (while I attend to these wayfarers).’ It a good reminder to us all about the importance of this mitzvah.
Rabbi Paul Arberman