Parshat Vayeira 5782: Another Take on Why Hashem Reveals to Avraham His Intent to Destroy Sodom and Amora

Shalom Friends;

Our Parshat HaShevua, Vayeira is sponsored by Dr. David and Tamar Kallus and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh who dedicate this vort Lilui Nishmas the Yahrtzeit of HaRav Chaim Zev Malinowitz, z”l To the Kallus family, many thanks for your sponsorship and your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Vayeira 5782: Another Take on Why Hashen Reveals to Avraham His Intent to Destroy Sodom and Amora

by Moshe Burt

A few years ago, this author wrote a Parshat HaShavua entitled: Why Does Hashem Reveal to Avraham Avinu His Plans to Destroy Sodom and Amora? This vort will serve as another take on the subject with further insights.

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin lists three possible reasons for Hashem’s revelation to Avraham concerning Sodom and Amora in his sefer “Unlocking The Torah Text” (Sefer Breish’t, pages 80-83):

Two global approaches are suggested within Midrashim and by… commentaries:

1/ Avraham’s rights stem from the new role that he now assumes at this critical juncture of world history. (Rabbi Goldin citing Midrash Tanchuma Breish’t 49) Avraham rises to a level of prophecy as, for the first time, Hashem invites a mortal into what Nechama Leibowitz refers to as “the intimate counsels of the Divine.” (Rabbi Goldin citing Nechama Leibowitz, Studies in Breish’t. page 165) Serving as prophets [nevi’im], they will partner with Hashem and play a major role in bringing His message to the B’nei Yisrael and, at times, to the world. As the Prophet Amos declares, “For Hashem will not do anything until He has revealed His Counsel to His servant, the prophets.”

2/ Avraham’s rights at this point stem from his ownership of the land of Canaan…. He was, therefore, unwilling to destroy any part of the land without first consulting with Avraham. (Rabbi Goldin citing Midrash Tanchuma Breish’t, Vayeira 5)

A third, entirely different explanation of Hashem’s decision to reveal His intentions to Avraham can be uncovered if we turn to the events that immediately follow in the Torah text…. Hashem [as it were] is forced to inform Avraham [of the impending destruction of Sodom and Amora] because failure to do so would have dealt a mortal blow to …[Avraham’s] perception of his own mission to the world.

What gives Avraham the right to ask that the cities be entirely spared? Avraham [thought and then asks]: “It would be a sacrilege were You to do such a thing, to destroy the righteous with the wicked and make the righteous like the wicked! It would be sacrilege were You to do this! Will the Judge of the land not do justice?” (Rabbi Goldin citing Sefer Breish’t, Perek 18, posuk 25)

The key to Avraham’s debate with Hashem on behalf of Sodom and Amora may well lie in Hashem’s earlier promises to,,, [Avraham] himself. Through the impending fate of these evil cities, and the relationship of the cities to righteous individuals who might be in their midst, Avraham is confronted with a microcosm of his own relationship to the world.

When Hashem launched Avraham’s [travel]… of Lech Lecha, He actually delivered two promises to… [Avraham];

1/ He promised that Avraham’s progeny would survive the evil of a surrounding world. (Rabbi Goldin citing Sefer Breish’t, Perek 12, posuk 2)

2/ He promised further that, if Avraham’s descendants fulfill their righteous mission, they would have an effect on those around them. “All of the nations of the world will be blessed through you,” (Rabbi Goldin citing Sefer Breish’t, Perek 12, posuk 3)

Hashem feels compelled to reveal his intentions to Avraham because He wants Avraham to understand that the destruction of the cities will not in any way contradict Hashem’s promises to… [him].

Imbedded in this passage [Sefer Breish’t, Perek 12, posuk 3] are two fundamental promises given by Hashem to… [Avraham] from the very start, “You will thrive and your actions will affect the world.” The Torah tells us that Hashem is now driven to inform Avraham of the impending fate of Sodom and Amora specifically because of those earlier promises.

Rabbi Goldin concludes (ibid, page 79-80):

…Each word of Torah is purposely and Divinely chosen…, therefore [it] must be seen as Torah’s way of providing us with a glimpse into “Hashem’s mind.”

Hashem is telling us that he sees a fundamental connection between Avraham’s mission to the world and the impending destruction of the cities of Sodom and Amora. So deep is that link that Avraham must be “brought into the loop” before Hashem can continue.

Thus Hashem sets a paradigm, an example through Avraham Avinu, for succeeding generations, i.e. Moshe Rabbeinu, Yehoshua, Shmuel and the Nevi’im throughout Tanach.

In our generations, there seems no one known to us who fits the criteria of an Avraham, a Moshe, a Yehoshua, a Shmuel — to whom Hashem would have deemed to be at such a high level, and as close to Him as to have been designated as a Navi and to whom He would reveal events yet to occur. But this author refers back to possible hints in excerpts from the article written by Rabbi Benjamin Blech of Aish HaTorah in March, 2020 entitled “God and the Coronavirus” which was cited in this year’s Rosh Hashana vort:

…I’m amazed that of the countless suggestions for how to counter and to cope with the coronavirus we hear so little of the word G’d and the possibility that this global pandemic brings with it a profound divine message.

The keter – the crown – is the most powerful symbol of our connection with God.

The word corona – as in coronavirus – comes from the Latin word for crown.

Perhaps we need to consider the world’s present affliction[s] not just in the context of a disease caused by pathogens but as a divine message reminding us that we have been given our lives to invest them with meaning and virtue as defined by G’d’s 10 Commandments.

We seem to have no prophetic understanding of other events of upheaval in the world, whether in the United States, or here in Eretz Yisrael, i.e. nations founded upon freedom and representative government — of, by and for the people — now facing unelected or unrepresentative and possibly dictatorial heads of state and governances and respective losses of prestige, trust, credibility and deterrence due to their respective dictatorial, diplomatic, and military fiascos and what relationships each might bear to the corona virus pandemic. As the former Presidential Chief of Staff and former Mayor of Chicago was known to have said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now free of his parole and restrictions and that he and his ill wife Esther Yocheved bat Rayzl Bracha are finally home in Eretz Yisrael. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of seven years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese corona virus pandemic and all like viruses. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei 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; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt is an Oleh, writer and commentator on news and events in Eretz Yisrael. He is the founder and director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network and lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.