Rabbi Dr Zvi Aviner
Ó copyrights 2022
THEFT-4/Abraham Opposite Sodom, Forever!
Teaching the Bible or the Torah
does not necessarily bring the expected good results.
Sometimes it brings the opposite.
Parents may give their children excellent biblical education
sending them to the best bible schools, raising them with love and devotion
expecting them to follow their right way.
And yet, when the child comes to age
he or she may turn against his parents and claim:
“Do not push me to do what you want,
stop feeding me with your silver spoon,
let me decide my own way on my own mind.”
Then the parent has no course other than watching in horror
how their child drifts away into drugs, sex and alcohol,
so rampant on the promiscuous campuses,
messing his life with no recourse.
This is true not only for a growing child
but also, for an entire community,
that may be very versed with the bible and familiar with its values,
yet at one point in time, this community decides,
conscientiously, on purpose, to turn around and reject the bible
in the name of progress or a social philosophy
that cherishes the freedom of choice and individuality.
Sometimes the motive is a sheer hatred to the Bible
and the people who wrote it and still live by it.
Such a community may proclaim that they believe
in values that are the exact opposite of the values of the Bible.
For instance, they may proclaim that
while the Bible teaches that Peace is good,
they preach that War is natural and good,
and that like in natural selection,
only the stronger side should prevail.
Whereas the Bible teaches that all Mankind descends
from one father, Adam or Noah, and therefore,
all Mankind are equal before G-d and before the Law,
They teach that Mankind is divided by races,
and therefore, one superior race, their own race of course,
should dominate and subdue all other inferior races
Whereas the Bible sanctions the life of every human being, alike,
they see it as an obligation to eliminate the ’inferior races’
by calculated, mass murder.
Whereas the Bible teaches that G-d owns everything,
they proclaim that the G-d of the Bible is dead,
that compassion is a sign of weakness, a poison
spread by the Bible that was written by the weak.
Whereas the Bible recognizes the sovereignty of each nation within its borders,
they heil their right to invade other nations and establish Empire.
Whereas the Bible cherishes man’s individuality, and promotes democracy,
they cherish the State’s Authority above all, and heil dictatorship.
They may initially elect a government democratically,
yet the new government would cease absolute dictatorship.
Whereas the Bible stands for modesty,
they heil arrogance, exhibited by goose marching troops
in front of the excited mass.
That indeed was the experience of Abraham
as he embarked on the stage of history.
Having discovered G-d, he his wife Sarah
kept teaching their faith to their fellowmen,
and even gain support, such as Aner, Eshkopl and Mamreh,
who become their ‘allies.’
These allies accepted the Seven Commandments of Noah
including Abraham’s new notion of the
One G-d Who Owns the Heavens and the Earth,
though they did not circumcise themselves.
How amazing it is that precisely at that pivotal moment in history,
the Torah describes a society that knew Abraham and Noah’s teaching very well,
yet intentionally elected to do the opposite, in open rebellion.
That society was Sodom, Gamoran and three other cities
around the Dead Sea.
Let’s see first how Abraham’s faith continued to evolve.
Abraham and YHVH
After meeting with Noah, Abraham combined his faith in
One Good Who Owns the Heavens and the Earth,
with Noah’s faith in YHVH ELKM as described in Genesis.
Henceforth, Abraham became an avid lover of HaShem, YHVH.
He did everything in his power to spread Her knowledge,
and perform Her ways in ELKM’s harsh world.
For instance, he set up hotels on crossroads where poor people
could eat, drink and sleep (the acronym EeSheL) free of charge.
And when the guests wished to thank him,
he told them to rather bless the True Owner, HaSheM.
He also erected hospitals where people received care free of charge.
Wherever he went, he erected altars to HaSheM and proclaimed Her Name.
And when he circumcised himself, we set at the front of his tent
at the peak of the heat of the day,
seeking to welcome passengers despite his pains.
Then he sees three men, who look to him like Arabs coming from far away,
and he runs forwards to greet them and cater to them personally,
though he is a wealthy person.
The three men, we know, were in fact three Angels:
Rafael, who was sent to heel Abraham
Gabriel, who was sent to overturn Sodom
Michael, who was sent to save Abraham’s nephew, Lot.
As they set by Abraham’s table,
the verse says that they observed Sodom and Gomorrah “from there,”
from Abraham’s table, and when they compared the Sodomites to Abraham,
the Sodomites looked very bad indeed.
What was the Sin of Sodom? Why were they “overturned”?
In short, they elected to do everything the opposite of Abraham.
The Torah describes them in one, magic verse:
“And the people of Sodom were
sinners and exceedingly evil in the eyes of YHVH”. (Genesis 13, 13)
No other society warranted such a description, before or after.
“Exceedingly evil to YHVH – they knew YHVH and yet rebelled against Him (Her) .”
Hence unlike the Canaanites and the Emorites peoples around them,
the people of Sodom were not primitive idol worshippers.
Somehow, they knew YHVH well, perhaps from Abraham’s teaching
or from Noah’s son, Shem, who ran a Torah Academy in nearby Jerusalem.
So, the Sodomites knew HaSheM,
and were familiar with Her values and expectations from us,
and yet they intentionally rebelled against Her,
so much, that they seemed “exceedingly evil in YHVH eyes!”
And you already know that since YHVH stands for the Attribute of Mercy,
being “evil” in Her eyes means that the Sodomites exhibited
unusual apathy, indifference to the pains of others
and that they were exceedingly cruel.
What exactly did they do to warrant such a description?
The Midrash offers stories to illustrate their faith in a funny way,
yet the subject farther away from being funny!
Moreover, the emphasis of “exceedingly evil in YHVH eyes”
Implies that they rebelled only against Her.
they were careful to obey the laws, (even ELKM’s laws,)
while at the same time, committing evil and cruelty
in the Merciful YHVH’s eyes.
Welcoming the guests:
Like Abraham, the Sodomites too were aware that one should
So here is their story:
When a stranger wondered into their city and went to the local hotel,
the hotel’s clerk smiled and offered him a room free of charge
for the first night, in the name of the city’s council.
While giving him the keys, the clerk even assured the stranger
that they would come later to his room to check if the bed fits his body.
The guest then enjoys the evening and indeed, at midnight the hotels’
people knock on the door saying they came to check the bed.
They came in, holding axes and saws in their hands.
They grabbed the stranger and stretched him on the bed.
If the bed was found too short, they cut his legs off to fit the bed length.
If the bed was found too long, they stretched his body farther
till his bones broke apart to fit the bed.
And as they did all that evil, they had much fun,
they y laughed and mocked the poor victim.
That laughter, in fact,
betrays the fact that they knew well what welcoming the guest should be,
yet they performed the opposite, intentionally.
This story, is the source of the commonly used expression
“Like a Sodomite bed,” which is a metaphor for
stretching true facts to fit a lie.
Take charity as another example.
Abraham was known as a charitable.
He exceled in giving his wealth for charity.
The Sodomites too were charitable,
but in a sodomite way.
When a poor stranger wondered into their town,
they assured him that if he sit in the main plaza
the people passing by would help him.
And indeed, to his amazement,
every sodomite passing by him threw at his bag
a golden coin, a golden bracelet or a jewelry,
and they seemed to him so nice and charitable people.
But later, when tries to get some food from a local store,
the owner refuses to sell him anything,
saying he is forbidden to do that by the city’s law.
“But I am hungry,” the stranger says in alarm, “I can pay you lots of money!”
Yet the owner insists: “I am a law-abiding citizen! I can’t sell you anything.”
The stranger then attempts to escape the city,
yet the guard doesn’t let him out ,
saying he is forbidden to do that by the law.
Next day the story repeats itself.
The stranger sits at the plaza with his bag,
and every sodomite passing by gives him money,
golden coins and bracelets and jewelry,
telling their children how proud they are to be charitable.
And when the stranger tries to purchase food or escape the city,
they deny him the right to do so.
After several such days, they find his emaciated body
lying dead on a pile of money his bag.
The Sodomites then tell their children, in false piety:
“See how money can’t by everything?”
Abraham built hospitals to care for the poor free of charge,
The Sodomites too built hospitals,
only that they also passed a law that forbids any medical treatment,
making it a crime punishable by death.
For they said: since sickness is brought by G-d,
how would anyone dare to negate His Deeds?
The story goes, that Abraham’s nephew Lot, had a daughter
whose friend became severely ill and was hospitalized.
Since she received no treatment and no food, she was dying.
When Lot’s daughter found out about her friend,
she sneaked to the hospital at night,
bringing her friend food and medications, so that she survived.
When the Sodomites found out about Lot’s daughter’s deeds,
she was brough before a Sodomite Judge,
who said in sarcasm: “How sweet you are!”
And he ordered to smear Lot daughter’s body with honey,
and tie her to a pole at the city’s plaza.
Then they released vicious bees that attacked her
and she died with extreme agony.
It is about her that the verse says that YHVH, the Attribute of Mercy,
garbed Her Sword and said in anger:
“Is it her cry that I hear?” (Genesis 18: 21)
referring to the cry of the poor, tortured girl.
This story reminds us modern Sodom, the Nazi régime,
who built hospitals with impressive fronts for their own wounded soldiers,
only to be suffocated right there by gases exiting from car’s exhausts.
This way they also treated patients with chronic diseases,
and mentally disturbed peoples.
(Those Gas Chamber were first used by the Nazis on their own people
before they were used in camps like Treblinka where
they suffocated millions.
The Seven Commandments in rebellion
The Midrash describes how the Sodomites violated
the Seven Commandments one by one, in a special way
that enraged the Merciful YHVH.
They violated IDOLATRY by knowing YHVH yet rebelling against Her.
They violated ADULTERY as described in the text.
When the three Angels were hosted by Lot,
the people of Sodom surrounded his house calling Lot
“Send your guests out to us, so that we’ll know them!”
Well, that sounds nice. When strangers wonder into your town
wouldn’t you like to know them, to find out who they are
and what their business is?
Yet behind their front lie was the truth that the Sodomites
wanted to know the strangers” sexually, like “Adam Knew his wife,”
committing on them what we call a Sodomite Act.
They also committed BLOODSHED by executing people on false charges.
They committed THEFT in a special, sodomite way.
The Sodomites believed, as the Rabbis said,
In a social philosophy that says
Mine is Mine, Yours is Yours.
Whereas Abraham believed in the philosophy that says
Mine is yours, and yours is yours,
and God owns everything.
This philosophy of Sodom sounds nice,
sanctioning private property of each individual,
but that philosophy also encouraged isolation
and indifference to the pains and the fate of other
people in the community.
when a group of thieves decided to rob a house of a wealthy person,
they knew well the law that says that one is not liable for stealing
less than a minimum amount, like a small coin.
Hence the thieves were careful that each would take from the house
Just that small portion allowed by the law,
yet together, they ransacked the entire house
leaving nothing behind them.
When they were brough before the Sodomite Judge
he praised them all, commending them for being so careful
not to breach the Law.
They could cheat the Law
Yet they were deemed Evil in YHVH eyes.
The Midrash also describes how they violated
Noah’s Fifth Commandment: Civil Order.
Like Abraham, the Sodomites believed in the rule of the majority
And they even held a credible democratic election for the city council.
The election went well with no disturbances,
Like civilized people,
only that they elected for the council the people
with the following names:
Master Robber, and
This government, once elected,
abolished all civil rights and elected a dictator, the King of Sodom,
who greeted Abraham and offered to share with him the loot.
Abraham said to him with disgust:
I shall not share with you from a thread to shoelace.
Now we understand why the Angels,
observing Sodom and Gamora from Abraham table,
noticed that Sodomites were the exact opposite of Abraham.
Hence, the Angels understood that
Abraham and the Sodomites cant’ dwell together on the same planet,
And since Sodom was the Opposite of Abraham,
She should be OVERTURN!
Thus, we see how
Abraham and his eternal nemesis, Sodom,
came to the world together, at the same time.
Sodom is not dead. It rises time and again,
Capturing the human mind in rebellion
Against the Bible, against Abraham and against YHVH.
It is now up to the Children of Noah to decide,
time and again,
whether to follow Abraham or Sodom.
The choice to make is both individual and national.
The Torah says what happened to Sodom and her allies:
And YHVH said, the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah
is large and its sin is very heavy,
Let me go down now, and I’ll see,
if her cry which has come to me they did,
then annihilation! Kalah! And if not, I’ll know!” (Genesis 18:20-21)
“And YHVH rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire
from YHVH out of Heavens” (Genesis 18:24)