We find that Avraham Avinu, immediately after receiving the Bris Milah, rushes to greet the three mysterious guests who wander over in his direction. Despite the tremendous pain he was in on the third day after the bris, as the meforshim explain, he powered towards the guests, exerting himself at every possible expense to make them feel as comfortable as possible.
We learn out from Avraham that to greet the guests, who appeared to be mere passerbyers, that הגדול הכנסת אורחים היא מקבלת פני השכינה - That greeting guests is greater than directly speaking to the Shechina. The Maharal, as heard by Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits shlit"a, asks the pointed question; How can it be possible that hachnasas orchim - as great of a mitzvah as it is - is greater than talking to the Shechina!? Hachnasas Orchim deals with people while talking to Hashem is G-d Himself. How can people ever beat out G-d?
He says that Avraham saw the chelek elokah mima'al in every person. Of course it's greater to greet Hashem then it is to greet people. However, when Avraham saw the strangers, he saw in them the Divine spark of G-dliness and ran towards them with all his might for a chance to invite them in. When Avraham spoke with people, he wasn't G-dforbid negating Hashem's presence in deference to people - He was accessing both the Divine access and the personal connection through initiating Hachnasas Orchim.
If we can strive to gain even a small bit of this immense middah, it will serve us in our Avodas Hashem tremendously, both in terms of our interactions with others and with our closeness to Hashem. In doing so, may we all merit to see Mashiach speedily in our days.
~ Rabbi Yitzy Tendler is the founder and head Rabbi of Yeshivas Lev Zion.