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30/31 October: Parsha Vayera

Shabbat comes in at 4.23pm: goes out at 5.24pm                                                ________________________________________________________________________

What was so terrible about Sdom that it had to be utterly destroyed?

The Midrash Pirkei DeRebbi Eliezer states: “They issued a proclamation in Sdom saying: Everyone who strengthens the hand of the poor and needy with a loaf of bread shall be burnt by fire.

Plotit, a daughter of Lot was married to one of the great men of Sdom. She saw a very poor man in the street and she felt bad for him. What did she do? Every day when she went out to draw water she put in her pitcher all kinds of provisions from her house and she sustained the poor man.

The men of Sdom said: How does this poor man live? When they ascertained the facts they brought Plotit forth to be burnt by fire. She cried out: Sovereign of all worlds! Maintain my right and my cause at the hands of the men of Sdom!

And her cry ascended before the throne of glory. In that hour G-d said: I will go down and see whether they have in fact done what she is crying about. If it turns out to be true then I will overthrow the city.”

Nechama Leibowitz points out: “Their wickedness was the law of the land and whoever violated the law and performed a good deed prompted by his own instincts of pity was condemned to be burnt at the stake. There was no remedy for such a society but total destruction.”

It reminds me that laws of our land must be to protect those without resources — not to protect the wealth of those of means.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Paul Arberman

 

October 30, 2015