Israel Forever

For the week ending 11 November 2006 / 20 Heshvan 5767

The Lesson of Sodom

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
The awful fate of the sinful cities of Sodom and Amorah will be recalled in synagogues throughout Israel and the world this Shabbat in the reading of the weekly Torah portion.

Were these indeed the worst cities in the world that they were designated for such a violent upheaval?

No, writes Ramban in his commentary. These cities were singled out for total destruction because of two reasons.

One is that they were located in Eretz Yisrael, a holy land which does not tolerate the abomination of which they were guilty. Just as this land would eventually spit out the nations that contaminated it, these sinners were now completely destroyed because their crimes surpassed those of all the others who inhabited the land.

The destruction of Sodom and Amorah was also intended as a lesson for the nation of Israel which would eventually inherit the land to be careful lest it deserve a similar fate.

The major sin of these cities was a total indifference to the need to share its wealth with its needy neighbors and visitors. It is hoped that the lesson of Sodom and Amorah will be taken seriously by a government which is more concerned with economic growth than it is with the needs of its large families and senior citizens. Only an application of this lesson will guarantee the well-being of Israel forever.

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