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  • Rav Moshe Weiss

Nahar U'Pashtei Parshas Vayeirah

A Little Commitment

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In Parshas Vayeirah we encounter the depth of kindness of our father Avraham, as well as the terrible evil that was Sedom. Avraham understood that kindness should not be a reaction a person has, but a way of life. One must feel the pain and inconveniences of others so acutely that he simply cannot bear not to be involved. This was what motivated him, in the midst of his own pain and sickness, to rush to fulfill the needs of others down to the finest detail. The Torah is not a book of rules; each mitzvah seeks to convey Hashem’s intention for man. A person must strive to uncover these directives and mold himself into a true servant of Hashem. Avraham adopted to love this way and became the father of chessed. The people of Sedom were the polar opposites. Not only did they not follow the Torah, but they also believed that they were smarter than Hashem and thus instituted their own morals and standards. The reason why Hashem destroyed these people in a supernatural and devastating way was because they thought they knew better than Hashem. This was heresy that ran so deep that it required complete and total annihilation! Yet, despite all this, Avraham set out to find perhaps some merit that would save them. In the end, not even eight righteous men existed among these repulsive individuals, and they were wiped out. What is very interesting to note, is that we know that Hashem sent Lot out of Sedom before the destruction began. Lot was told where to go, but he made a request of the angels that he find refuge in a nearby city, for that city was not as evil as established as Sedom and its fellow cities. Lot prayed that this city be saved from the fate of Sedom, and his wish was granted! When the great Avraham prayed for the salvation of Sedom he was refused, but Lot should be answered? Hashem had told Avraham that there just weren’t enough righteous people to save the cities, and Lot’s prayer was answered despite this! And the answer is that Avraham did not live among these people, nor was he going to. His prayer was therefore only to seek out any merit that they might possess, and for this reason, he came up empty. Lot, on the other hand, he was going to live in the city he prayed for! As soon as Lot admitted the error of their ways and resolved to influence the people of the city for the better, he was granted his request. The merit of a person who is committed to teshuvah has no limits in the eyes of Hashem’s mercy. And herein lies the lesson to us all. Commitment to be better is key. Realize the power of a true pledge to turn a page and strive upward. An entire city devoid of merit is suddenly viewed as righteous! Before one makes a commitment to improve, his potential doesn’t matter, for no change is apparent. As soon as there is resolve to be better, the potential good rises to the surface again. A gut Shabbos! A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss

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