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Does There Always Remain a Potential for Life?


Parshah Lech-Lecha

Bereshiet 13:8-9


וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אַבְרָ֜ם אֶל־ל֗וֹט אַל־נָ֨א תְהִ֤י מְרִיבָה֙ בֵּינִ֣י וּבֵינֶ֔ךָ וּבֵ֥ין רֹעַ֖י וּבֵ֣ין רֹעֶ֑יךָ כִּֽי־אֲנָשִׁ֥ים אַחִ֖ים אֲנָֽחְנוּ׃

הֲלֹ֤א כׇל־הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ לְפָנֶ֔יךָ הִפָּ֥רֶד נָ֖א מֵעָלָ֑י אִם־הַשְּׂמֹ֣אל וְאֵימִ֔נָה וְאִם־הַיָּמִ֖ין וְאַשְׂמְאִֽילָה׃


"Abram said to Lot, "Please, let's not have contention between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen. After all, we are relatives. The two of us even resemble each other enough to be mistaken for brothers.

Look, the whole land is before you. So please, separate yourself from me. If you go to the left, I will go to the right; if you go to the right, I will take the left. Furthermore, wherever you go, I will remain close enough at hand to come to your aid if you are ever in danger."


Choosing the Best Part


The moral behavior of Lot and his shepherds was not always good. For example, they allowed their flocks to graze on the land of others. Abraham and Lot were similar, this created confusion and people might think that Abraham's behavior was not morally correct. The time had come for each of them to go their own way.


They stood atop the mountaintop and looked over the land of Sodom and Gomorrah. The land was good and full of green grass for the sheep to graze, Lot chose this best part for himself. He chose the material world of convenience. Abraham did not care what portion he would get for his sheep, he had put his trust in HaShem, and knew that his sheep would have plenty to graze wherever he led them.


Lot descended into the corrupt world of Sodom and Gomorrah. And although the land was beautifully green and watery, the people were inhospitable, wicked and corrupt. We all know how that ended. The evil there was great and HaShem had to cleanse the land by turning it upside down. Lot's daughters and his wife were taken out of the city by the angel and ordered to flee to the mountains where they were not allowed to look back on this world. Lot's wife could not resist the temptation, one more time she wanted to look at the world known to her and she turned into a pillar of salt.



Why Lot's Wife Became an Pillar of Salt


The Midrash explains why she became a pillar of salt.

When guests came - which was forbidden by law - she would borrow salt from her neighbors, so that everyone would know there were guests and that Lot was trespassing.



There Always Remains the Potential for Life


The land became desolate and empty. No plants, no animals, a sea full of salt and lifeless. However, in every wasteland, in every place of death, there is hope, new potential, new possibilities and new opportunities. Thus today we see small pools of fresh water along the edges of the Dead Sea. Puddles full of greenery, full of birds, full of life. Because death can never have the last word.


Brought By Angelique Sijbolts

 

Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners and intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.

 

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