Lech Lecha – Lot’s journey

“Abram took his wife Sarai, and Lot, his brother’s son and their wealth, and the souls they had made in Haran, and left to go to Canaan’. Lot’s daughter became the mother of the Moabites, the ancestress of Ruth, and David.  R’ Eli Munk inferred that this was the reason that Abram wanted to instruct Lot to become a faithful servant of G-d. They had to go down to Egypt due to a famine in the land and after their return, differences emerged. This is indicated in the wording, ”Lot with him” showing that Lot had his own family.

 

Then there was a quarrel between the respective herdsmen of Abram and Lot, whilst they were dwelling among native tribes.  Nechama Leibowitz wrote that there was a deeper reason, ‘though Lot wishes to be part of Abram’s world, he did not wish to share Abram’s outlook and moral principles. She quoted a midrash which indicated that it was a quarrel over theft, as Lot’s shepherds allowed their livestock to eat from other’s pastures. So they separated and Lot journeyed east, although he knew that the people of Sodom were great sinners. He was attracted by the well-watered land, ignored the moral danger and suffered the consequences.

 

Lot was captured during a battle, and Abram felt obliged to come to his kinsman’s rescue. On their return, Abram was honoured by the king of Sodom, and the king of Salem. He gave his portion of the gifts to his allies. Lot may have thought he could maintain the way of life he had learnt with Abram, but in a later parasha, he had to save his guests from being assaulted by the people of Sodom, and gave his daughters to the populace instead. Ramban condemned Lot for this action, and Nechama Leibowitz wrote that if Lot could not maintain his own moral integrity in Sodom, he was even less likely to be able to transmit it to his children. When he went to warn his sons in law and daughters of the impending destruction of Sodom, his sons in law scoffed at him.

 

Necham Leibowitz wrote that the Sodomites were blinded to the impending catastrophe by their wealth and complacency, and the same thing has happened in subsequent generations. She found this concern in one of Isaiah’s warnings to the people, “the pipe and wine are at their feasts, but they disregard the work of the Lord”.

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