The pessukim mention a person who is found dead in the field and it is not known who killed him. The elders of the closest city say, “ידינו לא שפכו את הדם הזה ועינינו לא ראו, our hands did not spill this blood and our eyes did not see.” Rashi is bothered, is it possible to contemplate that the elders of bais din are murderers? Rather, it means, we didn’t see to his needs; we left him without food and without escort. The Gemara brings a story from Navi Shoftim: guards saw a person leaving the city and they asked him, “show us the entrance of the city and in turn we will do kindness with you.” And it states, “and he showed them the entrance.” The Gemara explains, he showed them the entrance of the city without speaking with his mouth or walking with them. Rashi adds, he only pointed with his finger or bent his lips.
The Maharsha says, the main mitzva of escorting is by giving direction and showing someone a safe way to reach his destination. This way of assistance might cause him to lead to mistakes, as he may turn to the right in place of the left or vice-a-versa. A better way to show direction, is by going with him until there are no possible mistakes to make on the road. Worse than both of the previous options are just pointing with a finger or bending the lips. This Canaani person did not escort them by walking or even telling them directions, rather by hinting; this was a lower form of assistance than of the other two, yet the Gemara brings he received great reward. Although the entire city was killed out by the sword, this man and his family were saved. The man went and built a city called Luz, although Sancheirev and Nevuchadneztar came, they did not destroy it. Even the angel of death does not have permission to pass through it. When elderly people are not well, they go out of the walls of the city and there they die. We see, for just a such a small act of escorting, he merited great reward; he and his offspring were saved forever and ever, throughout all generations. If so, someone who will escort with his feet by walking, certainly he will receive tremendous reward.
The Braisa teaches: a Rav must accompany his student a bit over 70 amos, a person his friend, 2,000 amos, and a student his Rebi, 4 miles, and for his Rebi muvhak, 12 miles. Rav says, one who escorts another 4 amos will help that he won’t be harmed. The Gemara says, even if harm will confront him, he will be saved. We see the mitzva applies to all levels of people.
In Parshas Vayeira it states, “ואברהם הולך עמם לשלחם, and Avraham went with them to send them.” Rashi explains “Avraham went” – refers to accompanying them out. The Gemara brings because Avraham escorted them, Hashem accompanied Bnei Yisrael in the Midbar as it states “וה’ הולך לפניהם יומם, and Hashem went with them during the day. It states about Avraham ויטע אשל. The Chaffetz Chaim says that לויה, accompanying is hinted in the roshei taivos of אשל; which stands for אכילה שתיה לויה. He brings a story with a host who had guests and his house burned down. A Gadol haDor said it was because he only gave his guests food and drink, but did not accompany the guests on their way. This left אש, fire from אשל. The Rambam brings that the reward of accompanying someone is greater than hachnasas orchim, bikur cholim, and nichum aveilim.
The Maharal explains the inyan of לויה; it is an honor and importance which is given to a person since he was created with the tzelem Elokim, and he will have protection on the way that he will be safe, and won’t be pushed away. If one does not accompany him, it is like killing him; he disgraces the tzelem Elokim and the person won’t have protection.
May we recognize the importance of לויה, and accompany our guests and assist others.