October 27, 2020 |

My Weekly Drash (a mini D'var Torah) -- Vayera (3)

The story of Lot is a baffling one. What we remember is that his wife turns to a pillar of salt, but that’s actually the least interesting part of the story. When a Sodomite mob demands he produce his male guests (actually angels) for implied gang rape, his response is to offer his virgin daughters in their stead. Later, he gets the opportunity to warn his family members that Sodom is to be destroyed. “But he seemed to his sons-in-law as one who jests.” (Gen 19:14) So Lot, his wife, and his two virgin daughters are the only ones who flee, but his wife looks back – because she missed the Sodom nightlife or because she missed her daughters and other family members who were about to die? – and is transformed. His remaining daughters, apparently believing they are the only ones left alive, proceed to get their father drunk so he may procreate with them and preserve the species. Perhaps the real lesson here is that we are not only responsible for our own actions, but for the community in which we choose to dwell. Lot may have been a comparatively good man, but even if his family did not fall into evil ways, they could not help but absorb some of the attitudes of their neighbors.

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Daniel M. Kimmel

Joined: October 2, 2007

Daniel M. Kimmel is a Boston area film critic, lecturer and author. He does these weekly mini-lessons for the Mishkan Tefila Brotherhood's newsletter. You are free to use them for similar purposes.

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