<I>Vayera</I>: Today's Lessons of Sodom

This vort is about the two angels who were assigned by HaShem to rescue Lot and his family and to destroy Sodom; and it is about the midos, the mores, the characteristics of the people of Sodom, which led to their destruction. It is also about a perspective on Sodom in the modern day.

Moshe Burt,

Our parsha opens with HaShem, as we understand, visiting Avraham Avinu on the third day after his Bris Milah, at the height of Avraham's pain following the circumcision, as Rashi indicates, "to inquire about his welfare." (Metsuda's Linear Chumash rendering of Rashi on Chapter 18, verse 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 verse as to the mitzvah of bikur cholim - showing caring, giving strength and encouragement to the ill by visiting them.

But this vort relates to "the men," the malachim, or at least two of them, who were sent to Avraham Avinu as he sat, at the height of his pain, still seeking guests, even as he received his visit from HasShem. This vort is about the two angels who were assigned by HaShem to rescue Lot and his family and to destroy Sodom; and it is about the midos, the mores, the characteristics of the people of Sodom, which led to their destruction. It is also about a perspective on Sodom in the 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 a 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, Vayera, page 85)
The Midrash Says (Vayera, pages 165-177) offers additional perspectives on the cruelty and depravedness of the people of Sodom - such that hospitality and kindness was outlawed, and justice was non-existent in Sodom. And the episode at the entrance to Lot's home on the night that "the men," the malachim, arrived is particularly striking. It epitomizes and gives historical perspective to the ways of Sodom (Vayera, Chp. 19, verse 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," writing, "For the purpose of homosexuality as 'who have never known a man,' known refers to sexual relations."

Is there no message here for the contemporary State of Israel, with its government-invested efforts toward "Gay-friendliness" and the Gay desecration set to take place this Erev Shabbos in Jerusalem? No message in what we learn in our parsha about HaShem's wrath upon Sodom? Is there no message here for those who prey on the shy, perhaps those not so socially interactive, with their type of gay "outreach"?

This year, Erev Shabbos parshas Vayera coincides with Kristallnacht (also known as Reichskristallnacht, Novemberpogrome, Pogromnacht and the Night of Broken Glass), a pogrom against Jews throughout Germany and parts of Austria on November 9-10, 1938. Jewish homes and stores were ransacked in a thousand German cities, towns and villages, as ordinary citizens and stormtroopers destroyed buildings with sledgehammers, leaving the streets covered in smashed windows - the origin of the name "Night of Broken Glass." Jews were beaten to death; 30,000 Jewish men were taken to concentration camps; and 1,668 synagogues ransacked or set on fire.

As if the correlation of the dates was not a sufficient wonderment, German historian Hans-Jorgen Doscher, considered Germany's foremost authority on the events of Kristallnacht and a leading expert on the Third Reich, published a well-documented account of events of that day.

In his "definitive history," Reichskristallnacht, he indicates the possibility that the pogrom "was not politically-motivated, as commonly believed, but the result of a homosexual love affair between a Nazi diplomat and a young Jewish man."

Again, is there a not message and a lesson here for the contemporary State of Israel regarding the Gay desecration set to take place this Erev Shabbos in Jerusalem?



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