Forefathers / Torah Parasha

A few Thoughts on Parashat VAYERA


Photo: Miriam Woelke

G – d created men with a body and a soul. Humans live in the physical world where the body seems to be more important than the soul. We all have desires such as money, career, food, sex, a great place to live or an expensive car. This is what our body desires but our soul strives for something else: Getting closer to G – d and earn perfection. G – d created all souls and there are many rabbinic sources stating that a soul doesn’t really want to enter a human body but, instead, stay close to G – d. It doesn’t matter how much money someone has and how successful he is in life, it is the soul keeping him alive and not his material possessions. 
It is well – known that we humans are weak. No matter whether a Jew is pious or less frum. As soon as we spot out some delicious foods or nice furniture, apartment or a great car, our body wants it. We want it or, at least, we dream about having it. Our body has material desires whereas the soul strives for spirituality. There is a constant struggle between body and soul and lets be honest, how many times do we give in to our material desires? Good food or a job with a promising career? All these tiny little temptations where we say: “Only once. Once won’t do any harm!”  🙂
Last week’s Torah Parasha Lech Lecha told us that Avraham and his nephew Lot separated. Avraham went with G – d but Lot raised his eyes and saw the entire plain of the Jordan that it was well watered everywhere. Before G – d destroyed Sodom and Gomorrha, the land used to be fruitful and green. After the destruction of the two cities, the area became, as we know it today, the Dead Sea with hardly any vegetation.
Lot saw the wealth and great life of Sodom and Gomorrha and this is where he wanted to live. The inhabitants were known as vicious, mean and sexual perverts. However, Lot didn’t care and only concentrated on the material aspects.
How many times do we think the same: The people we are dealing with are mean but we keep on telling ourselves: “Never mind. I have nothing to do with those people but look at all the promising advantages.”
Just one brief example: How many Jewish organizations accept money from Christian missionaries? The sad truth is: A lot. And all those organizations keep on telling themselve: “Hey, we have nothing to do with those missionaries but only take their donations.” A big mistake, as these Christian missionaries always want something in return.
As a Gemara in Sanhedrin teaches: The people of Sodom and Gomorrha were extremely vicious. All of them were pretty well off but they didn’t want to share wealth with outsiders. Thus, they didn’t let beggars or the poor into their cities. And if they did, those people were tortured. Furthermore, the people of Sodom and Gomorrha used to be sexual perverts and until the expression “sodomize” is well known.
And what do we learn here from Avraham and Lot?
Lot only concentrated on the material side of life whereas Avraham listened to his soul. What Lot didn’t take into consideration: The fact that he would get into trouble.
Now we can ask ourselves: “How many times do we go for our desires and don’t listen to our soul. How many times do we have an excuse for doing the opposite of what we are supposed to do.”
Lot paid a high price for his decision but, nevertheless, Meshiach will be his descendant. Ruth, the Moabite, comes from Lot and she was the great – grandmother of David HaMelech (King David).

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