21 October 2021

A Timely Message From the Parashah: Who Merits Survival and How?

16 Marcheshvan 5782
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Vayera

As our world tumbles down into the abyss reached by others before us -  the generation of the Great Flood, the generation of the Tower of Bavel; the generation of Sodom and Amorrah - there is a lot of discussion going on about who is righteous and who will survive and who deserves to be rescued by HKB"H and how.  It is no coincidence that since the mention of Gog uMagog at Sukkot, we have been reading the parashiot that deal davka with these events.  If it is of real concern to us, we cannot do better than let the words of the parashah and its meforshim impress their truths upon our souls.

Taken from the Stone Edition Chumash Commentary:

...So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, and the betrothed of his daughters, and he said, "Get up and leave this place; for Hashem is about to destroy the city!"  But he seemed like a jester in the eyes of his sons-in-law.

...By their impudence, Lot's sons-in-law had lost their chance to be saved, so the angels insisted that Lot hurry and take his wife and single daughters, for if he delayed, the lethal downpour would begin and it would be too late for him.

This illustrates a common principle of God's conduct, one that is often encountered in history: Someone who is totally righteous - an Abraham, for example - may be saved by miracles even when everything around him is crashing down. Less righteous people may be granted an opportunity to save themselves from impending doom, but once the destruction begins, they will be caught up in the general carnage. Thus, Lot deserved to leave Sodom, whether in his own merit or Abraham's.... However, he could be saved only before the upheaval began, but not from its midst. Furthermore, neither he nor the others in his entourage were entitled to witness the fate of the other Sodomites and still remain unscathed. Thus, when Lot's wife turned around to see the horrors that her fellows were suffering, she, too, died.

We know already from last week's parashah that Lot went to Sodom in the first place because he chose materialism over spirituality, and that is why, despite being Avraham's nephew, his righteousness was considered lacking.


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