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Home » Vayera

Vayera: Generosity Pays

Submitted by on November 2, 2005 – 1:33 amNo Comment | 2,593 views

A Pillar of Salt

G-d destroyed the city of Sedom but saved Lot and his family. As they were escaping the angel instructed them to look forward. “Don’t look behind you, lest you be swept away” (in G-d’s wrath.) Lot didn’t look back but his wife did and she was cruelly punished. She was transformed into a pillar of salt.

Our sages explain the symmetry behind this punishment. Lot’s wife was reluctant to share her food with the guests that her husband brought home. She was particularly reluctant to share her salt, knowing that salt triggers thirst and she would thus be obliged to provide drinks in addition to the food she was already serving.

Fear Not for What the Future Holds

Now that we understand the underlying sin for which she was punished we arrive at a deeper understanding of the angel’s instruction, “don’t look behind you.” Don’t worry too much about what might happen after your passing. Don’t hoard all your money in fear of what the future holds. Share with the needy and give generously to charity because in the final analysis man cannot provide for every eventuality, only G-d can.

Contrast the behavior  of Lot’s wife’s with that of Avraham. Avraham shared everything he had; he was the epitome of kindness. Though he never sought prosperity G-d bestowed it upon him generously.

Point of Reflection

This instruction echoes back to us across the generations. We are all charitable but only within the limits that we have each imposed upon ourselves. The Torah encourages us to be a little more generous. We are promised that those who give to charity will be financially compensated, and even rewarded, by G-d. As our sages have said, “tithe so that you shall become wealthy.”

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