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Torah Tidbits with Eliana Pollack

Eliana Pollack

Parshat Veyeira 

The people living in Sodom were known to be the richest in the world. They had extremely fertile soil and it possessed natural riches like gold, silver, and precious stones. The Sodomites were extremely selfish and feared that a stranger may come and visit and take some of their riches. Therefore, they made extremely harsh laws to avoid this outcome. Examples of these laws are:

  1. Anyone caught giving food to strangers shall be put to death.

  2. Any guest visiting Sodom is allowed to be robbed.

  3. If the guest is too tall for the guest bed, his legs shall be cut off. If he is too short then he shall be stretched out.

  4. A trip on the ferry across the river costs 4 coins, but if a person finds another way across he must pay 8 coins.

  5. Each individual has to watch the livestock of the whole city one day a year. However, a person who does not own animals has to spend two days a year watching the livestock.

What is the reason for these rules?

This question will be answered by a story:

When a student moves into his/her dorm room in a new school, the faculty at the school tries to do as much as they can to make the person comfortable. They do this because the person is very important and therefore his needs are also considered important. However, in Sodom the people were of minimal importance and the materialistic items were the most important. The people had to change their ways in order to fit and treat the possessions right. For example, a person's height was changed for the good of the bed rather than the bed being changed for the good of the human.  

Everything in the world was created in order to serve and help man. The Sodomites didn’t see it like this and therefore treated possessions better than they treated people. When a person becomes too obsessed with their phone or TV (etc) to the point that they are no longer paying attention to those around them they are acting similar to the people of Sodom.

This D'var Torah teaches us that, especially now living in the 21st century when technology is such a big part in our lives, we must be careful to prioritize what is important. We must always realize that our friends and family and those around us are the most important and materialistic items should not get in the way of our relationships with them.

Eliana Pollack
High School Student

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