In this week’s Torah portion, Abraham seeks to save the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah from the wrath of God. Each of these cities have become so corrupt and evil that God wants to wipe them from the face of the earth, but as Abraham learns of their imminent destruction, he tries to bargain with God in an effort to save them. In a series of confrontational exchanges, Abraham pleads on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah. He asks God to spare these cities for the sake of the righteous, but as fate would have it, not even ten righteous individuals could be found, and the cities are destroyed.
This ancient story encourages us to stand up for justice and mercy in all circumstances. It urges us to question authority for the sake of goodness in the world. While Abraham is unable to actually find any who are worthy of God’s mercy, the mere act of standing up for justice and mercy in a broken world is something that our faith holds as a virtue.
Throughout history, societies with extremely misguided (even evil) values have come and gone. As Jews, we have been victims to these forces with disproportionate frequency, but despite their constant presence in our lives, we have remained steadfast in our resolve to follow in the footsteps of Abraham. For as dark and misguided any society has ever become, there have always been good forces, good people, righteous individuals that eventually pull their societies out of the darkness and into the light.
L’Shalom – Steve