Parsha Vayeira 5770: Stark Contrasts Between Chessed, the Ways of Sodom and Western Morality

by Moshe Burt

Our Parsha opens with Hashem, as we understand, visiting Avraham Aveinu on the 3rd day after Bris Milah, when Avraham was at the height of his pain following the circumcision, as Rashi indicates, “to inquire about his welfare.” (Metsuda Linear Chumash rendering of Rashi on Perek 18, posuk 1)

It’s not like Hashem needed to pay a visit to ascertain Avraham’s actual condition for, Hashem is the Creator, The Master, The Ruler over the world who knows and is aware of everything. And so we learn and gain insight from this first posuk as to the Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim; showing, caring, giving strength and encouragement to the ill by visiting and caring about them.

But this vort endeavors to contrast Avraham Aveinu’s chessed with the cruelty of the city of Sodom. Avraham Aveinu sat, at the height of his pain after Bris Milah, still seeking orchim, guests, even as he received his visit from Hashem. When “the men”, the melachim, or at least two of the melachim who were sent to Avraham Aveinu arrived, Avraham pardoned himself from Hashem in order to take care of his guests. The vort is about these two who were assigned by Hashem to rescue Lot and his family and to destroy Sodom, and about the midos, the mores the characteristics of the people of Sodom whch led to their destruction and perspective of Sodom in modern day.

Rabbi Yehudah Nachshoni, in his “Studies in the Weekly Parsha” begins a section on Sodom by stating that the Torah makes no specific comment as to the sin of the Sodomites:

“The Torah merely tells us that they were very wicked and sinned greatly, and that a cry had come up from Sodom to the Heavens until Hashem, as it were, came down by Himself to see if indeed they had done ‘as its cry.’ But what that cry was, is not specified in the Torah. Chazal explain it as the cry of certain young woman who had been sentenced by the city to either be exposed to bees or to be burned, because she had helped a poor man.” (Studies in the Weekly Parsha, Parsha Vayeira, page 85; Perek Cheilik 109b, Gemora Sanhedrin)

The sefer, “The Midrash Says” (Parsha Vayeira, pages 165-177) offers additional perspectives on the cruelty and depravation of the people of Sodom; that hospitality, that kindness was outlawed and justice was absurd and non-existent in Sodom.

“The Midrash Says” cites the Sodomite constitution which included the following laws;

  • 1/ Any stranger found in the vicinity may be robbed of his money and mal-treated.
  • 2/ It is the duty of a Sodomite judge to ensure that every wayfarer leaves the country penniless.
  • 3/ Anyone found handing food to a pauper or stranger will be put to death.
  • 4/ Anyone who invites strangers to a wedding will be punished by having all of his clothing removed from his body.

The sefer informs that Avraham’s servant Eliezer would readily attest to the perversion of Sodom in a number of stories of his experiences when he once happened to pass through.

Eliezer was once accosted in the street by Sodomites and beaten until bleeding. When Eliezer went before a Sodomite Judge demanding justice, the judge ruled that Eliezer owed the Sodomites for letting his blood. So Eliezer then beat the judge silly until the judge bled. Then he demanded remuneration for the beating which he told judge to pay those that he “owed.”

Then, as evening came, Eliezer was invited to rest in one of Sodom’s guest beds. He ascertained that it was the Sodomite custom to fit the guest to the bed (by either cutting off limbs or stretching the limbs), rather than giving a guest an appropriate bed. Eliezer begged off of the offer claiming not to have3 slept in a bed since his mother died.

Ascertaining Sodomite laws concerning strangers being invited to a Sodomite wedding (see above point 4), When asked who invited him, he pointed to various men successively until he was seated by himself consuming his solitary meal.

There was also the episode at the entrance to Lot’s home on the night that “the men”, the melachim arrived which epitomizes and gives historical perspective to the ways of Sodom; Parsha Vayeira, Perek 19, posuk 5; “They called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them.’”

Rashi comments on “that we may know them”; “For the purpose of homosexuality as in: ‘Who have never known a man,’ known refers to sexual relations.”

Is there a not message here for the contemporary State of Israel, with it’s government-invested Hasbara efforts directed toward “gay and swinger-friendliness” and what we learn in our Parsha about Hashem’s wrath upon Sodom? Is there not a message here for those who prey on the shy, perhaps those not so socially-interactive with their type of gay “outreach?”

Is there a not also message here for the contemporary shakedown regime whose leaders are involved in every manner of self-enrichment, corruption, graft and pay-offs, no matter at whose expense, even at the peril of national security? And is there not a message for an evil regime which expels thousands of Jews, destroying and leveling their properties and seizing their asset, a regime which levels and destroys Jewish homes and farms and which threatens another building where hundreds of Jews live out of blind hatred for Jewish ethic and derech?

As if all of this were not enough, check out these 3 contrasts; the constitution of Sodom (above), distorted western morally, an oxymoron best exemplified by the “Goldstone (or is that the Gallstone) Report” alleging human rights by Israel during last January’s Operation Cast Lead, as well as a video of a BBC interview with former commander of British forces in Afghanistan Colonel Richard Kemp. Kemp, a Gentile, praised the IDF as having made more effort to reduce civilian deaths and casualties than any military force “in the history of warfare.”

The “Goldstone Report” was named for it’s author Judge Richard Goldstone of South Africa, a Jew who had earlier been:

“A member of Human Rights Watch, but resigned in 2009… after a conflict of interest was alleged by Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor.”

Contrast the fact that Israel has repeatedly put it’s tactical military aims and goals, it’s soldiers as well as it’s national security in jeopardy to prevent, or minimize enemy civilian casualties when fighting an enemy who hides amongst its civilian population using them as tactical human shields when fighting Israel. Note that Israel has taken all of these dangerous precautions in order to avoid the false “moral indignation” of international criticism which occurs anyway, despite these precautions and despite recognition of the IDF by Gentile military officer Colonel Richard Kemp as “the most moral army in the history of warfare.” And so, IDF commanders as well as prime ministers, defense ministers and other ministers and diplomats of Israel are now in the absurd, outrageous position of not being able to travel now even to Western countries such as Britain for fear of apprehension and trial for “war crimes.”

In other words, sodomized Western morally holds Israel up to a standard seeming akin to the Sodomite judge who ruled that Avraham’s servant Eliezer owed the Sodomites for letting his blood. In short, what Goldstone rules is that Israel must roll over, play dead, allow herself to be over-run and destroyed while daring not to act in her own defense. And yet, the secular government of Israel, in its blind mission to seperate Israelis from their Jewishness, still stubbornly clings to absurd western morality as it’s rationale for seeking to make Jewish Land Yudenrein.

May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard, captive Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs be liberated alive returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem and that we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!

Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.