Adrian A. Durlester

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Vayera 5770

Not Even Ten?

Seems G"d knew what G"d was talking about. G"d allowed Abraham to argue with G"d to see if Abraham could actually persuade G"d to spare S'dom and Gomorrah for the sake of the righteous who did live there. From fifty to forty-five to forty to thirty to twenty to ten , Abraham successfully argued with G"d to spare S'dom and Gomorrah its fate for the sake of the few innocent, so they should not be swept away along with the guilty.

Yet it soon become clear that there are not even ten innocent ones, according to to the text. It says that "all of the townspeople, then men of S'dom, young and old-all the people to the last man" gathered at Lot's house and asked that the strangers be brought out so that they could be "intimate" with them.

There's a problem here. I'm willing to accept that misogynist redactors of the text of the Torah has a hand in shaping things. Yet, were they so misogynistic as to have G"d exclude all the females from the count of the innocent? Are we simply to assume that all the females of S'dom and Gomorrah were as wicked as the men?

On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be any protest from the women. The text does not speak of women who tried to stop their men from acting wickedly to the strangers. So we could perhaps take their silence as acquiescence- in which case, perhaps there really were no innocent in the towns.

What about children? Were they all wicked too? Did their young lives deserved to be cut short for the sins of their parents?

I'm just not comfortable with that. Far be it for me to question G"d, but that's exactly what I'm going to do! During the time of Noakh, and during this time at S'dom and Gomorrah, G"d willingly destroys G"d's own creations, assuming all of them deserve it (except for those G"d hand picks to survive.)

Noakh gets picked because he's decent compared to the rest of the folks in his time. (So what did Mrs. Noahk do to deserve the honor of surviving, other than by being Mrs. Noakh ?) Lot probably deserves a similar description-he did offer up his daughters to the townspeople in order to spare the strangers. So compared to the evil people of S'dom and Gomorrah, perhaps he wasn't so bad.

Why have anyone survive at all? You're G"d-why not just start over again? You created this mess - what with your "enjoy the garden ids, and eat anything you want-except from that tree..." Then You wiped it all out, save for Noakh and his family - and you seemed to have gotten the same results. Hmmm, G"d, was that a miscalculation on your part? Did you think an almost fresh start would work?

Tell me G"d - were there really no innocents among the guilty - no women, children, even men? Or perhaps you just consider them collateral damage? G"d gives, and G"d takes away. Blessed be G"d? You gotta be kidding.

This whole story stinks (along with many others we find in Torah.) Yes, human kind hasn't exactly been at its best much of the time. Have You?

You destroyed S'dom and Gomorrah. We destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

We've had a few not quite global wars. You wiped out the entire population fo the planet except one family.

We've killed many soldiers in the name of a good cause. You drowned Pharaoh's soldiers in the sea.

We killed many while occupying the lands you promised to us (and sadly, we keep killing for the same reason.) You told us to do it.

Hail humanity. Hail G"d.

To quote from the final lyrics of the song "Molasses to Rum to Slaves" from "1776" -

"Who stinketh the most?"

Shabbat Shalom,

© 2009 by Adrian A. Durlester

All translations from the revised JPS Tanakh

Some Other Musings on this parasha

Vayeira 5769 - He's a Family Guy (?)
Vayera 5767-Revised 5759-Whoops! (or Non-Linear Thinking)
Vayera 5766-The Price of Giving
Vayera 5765-From the Journal of Lot Pt. II
Vayera 5762-Plainly Spoken
Vayera 5760/5761-More From the "Journal of Lot"
Vayera 5759-Whoops! (or "Non-Linear Thinking?")
Vayera 5757-Technical Difficulties

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